Cathay Pacific Airways' first flight from London Gatwick Airport to Hong Kong has taken off, launching its status as the only airline to run non-stop flights between Gatwick and Hong Kong.

The long-haul flight is also Cathay Pacific’s first to feature the new Airbus 350-900 aircraft.

The new four-times weekly service will operate from Gatwick’s South Terminal, and feature business, premium and economy class seats.

“The new flights mark an important milestone in the growth of the Gatwick long-haul network."

Cathay Pacific’s A350-900 offers in-flight connectivity in all cabin classes.

Passengers can use their own mobile devices to browse the internet, send and receive emails, and stay connected on social media for a small fee.

The new service complements the airline’s five-times-daily service from Heathrow Airport.

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It will operate a total of 39 flights a week between London and Hong Kong, which is more than any other carrier.

Cathay Pacific also offers a four-times-weekly service between Manchester and Hong Kong.

The airline's general manager for Europe Neil Glenn said: “With 2016 marking Cathay Pacific’s 70th anniversary, we are proud to now offer passengers three non-stop routes from the UK to Hong Kong, and then beyond.

“Meeting the increasing demand from both business and leisure travellers, we are delighted that this route will also be served by the new-generation A350. 

"The A350 also employs innovative technology and design which improves not only passenger comfort and well-being, but also the efficiency, effectiveness and operational performance of the aircraft.” 

Gatwick Airport chief commercial officer Guy Stephenson said: "Hong Kong is the premier gateway to China and we are delighted to welcome Cathay Pacific – one of the world’s premier airlines – to Gatwick. 

“The new flights mark an important milestone in the growth of the Gatwick long-haul network, which now more than ever provides the UK economy with vital routes into the world’s most important markets.”