Cathay Pacific Airways will make its inaugural flight from Manchester Airport to Hong Kong today, launching the four-times-weekly non-stop service.
The departure of the flight at 12pm will see Manchester become the only UK airport outside of London to offer a non-stop direct route to China.
Cathay Pacific serves more than 180 destinations globally via Hong Kong International Airport, including 22 destinations within mainland China.
The route has been heralded as a great opportunity to help stimulate economic growth in the North West and supports the development of the £800m Airport City Manchester, which has a joint venture partner from China, Beijing Engineering & Construction Group.
As of today Cathay Pacific will be flying four times each week between Manchester and Hong Kong. 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 12pm and will arrive in Hong Kong at 7.55am every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group said: ""It is an incredibly important and exciting day here at Manchester Airport and a delight to see our direct flights to China commence.
"Obtaining the route has been a key objective of ours for several years and to achieve it two years ahead of schedule is testament to the continued growth, development and role Manchester Airport has to play in UK aviation."