The newly announced air route, which will offer four nonstop, roundtrip flights per week, is estimated to bring nearly $30 million in direct and $52 million total economic impact annually to Virginia. The service, the longest non-stop air route to Hong Kong, will begin September 16, 2018.
“Today we celebrate a new bridge between Asia and Virginia, and we look forward to welcoming all of the international travelers this new air service will bring to the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginia has made a significant commitment to growing our relationship with Asia in recent years and we are proud to be a new United States market with nonstop service from Hong Kong. With its convenient schedule, this new Cathay Pacific air service provides direct connections to destinations around the globe and will help us continue to grow the new Virginia economy.”
The new route is the most recent of many bridges established under Governor McAuliffe’s administration. In July, Air India launched a new nonstop flight to IAD from New Delhi increasing air connectivity between Asia and Virginia. In July 2014, Governor McAuliffe welcomed Air China’s inaugural nonstop flight to IAD connecting the Commonwealth to one of the top emerging business and tourism markets.
Governor McAuliffe was instrumental in recruiting Cathay Pacific to Dulles, the result of one of 35 trade and marketing missions. The Governor has led numerous missions to Asia, and across the globe, during his administration, to showcase Virginia’s economic strengths, its agriculture, food and beverage assets, and great quality of life to prospective corporate investors and travelers.
“Cathay Pacific’s decision is another victory from our strategic efforts to establish more direct, nonstop international flight options to and from Dulles,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Hong Kong plays an important role in global commerce as the world’s largest host and investor of foreign direct investment stock, after the United States. Cathay Pacific’s flights between Hong Kong and Dulles provide Virginia an opportunity to recruit new foreign direct investment opportunities for the new Virginia economy and increase tourist visits from Asia overall.”
International travelers are an important component of Virginia’s economic strategy. In 2016, one million international travelers visited Virginia and spent $1.7 billion in the Commonwealth. Of that, 145,000 were from the Asia Pacific region spending $450 million. China, India, South Korea, Australia and Japan are all top ten markets for Virginia visitation. The Asia Pacific region’s share of international spending in Virginia is expected to grow to 30 percent in 2020, up from 27 percent in 2016.