Cathay Pacific Airways has announced the launch of a four-times-weekly service between Manchester and Hong Kong starting from 8 December 2014.
Manchester Airport is the UK's third biggest airport, with 20.8 million passengers a year, serving 200 destinations.
Inbound flights will arrive in Manchester from Hong Kong at 6.20am every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Flights will depart from Manchester the same day, departing at 12 midday and will arrive in Hong Kong at 7.55am every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Manchester Airport's research indicates that more than 200,000 people from within its catchment travelled to Hong Kong via Heathrow or through other European hubs in 2013.
The £800m Airport City Manchester development already has Chinese businesses based on site with the new route set to provide easy, direct and year round access from the North West.
Angus Barclay, general manager for Europe at Cathay Pacific, said: "We are committed to forging stronger links between the UK and China. We already currently operate five flights a day from London Heathrow to Hong Kong and the addition of the Manchester route provides a real opportunity to help stimulate economic growth in the North West. We continue to see an ever-increasing demand for air travel to and from the Asia Pacific region for both business and leisure traffic.
"This will be the only non-stop direct service from Manchester to Hong Kong; Cathay Pacific offers passengers even more choice and flexibility and, at the same time, will boost Manchester's standing as an International hub."
Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group said: "This announcement follows lengthy discussions with airlines regarding direct flights from Manchester to Hong Kong and mainland China. It is therefore satisfying to see Cathay Pacific recognise the potential of Manchester Airport's business, leisure and ethnic catchment strength by providing direct services from here. We know that more than 100,000 passengers currently begin their journey in the North West and travel to Hong Kong so we are keen to serve that demand direct. The government wants to see the best use of existing airport capacity in the short term and we believe we are well placed to play our part in the process as the largest airport in the North."