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China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG -

ne of our strate­gic ob­jec­tives for the next decade is to con­tinue to in­vest in Hong Kong and the Chi­nese main­land. We are very bullish and op­ti­mistic about both mar­kets,” Wal­ter Dias, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Greater China and Korea at United Air­lines Inc, told China Daily in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

“Look­ing around, one of the most dy­namic places world­wide is Asia, where China is the most dy­namic mar­ket. We see a lot of growth op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead,” Dias said.

Hong Kong SAR also has an im­por­tant role to play, he added. “His­tor­i­cally, Hong Kong is a strate­gic gate­way into the Chi­nese main­land and the third-largest mar­ket for United Air­lines in Asia. We see its im­por­tance con­tinue.”

In a bid to pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices to lo­cal clients — such as in­tro­duc­ing Can­tonese-speak­ing cabin crew, for in­stance — United has set its flight at­ten­dant base in Hong Kong, with nearly 300 staff, Dias said. The car­rier’s re­gional of­fice is also based in the SAR.

Ac­cord­ing to Dias, United Air­lines is the largest car­rier be­tween the US and the Asia Pa­cific in terms of fre­quency, with over 310 ser­vices per week, reach­ing out to 31 cities and 13 coun­tries across the re­gion.

It is also the largest car­rier be­tween the US and China in terms of seat ca­pac­ity, op­er­at­ing 11 daily direct flights from Beijing, Shang­hai and Hong Kong to var­i­ous US cities.

De­spite con­cerns over slow­ing eco­nomic growth on the Chi­nese main­land, Dias has firm con­fi­dence in fu­ture prospects. “I don’t see the growth dy­namic in China wa­ver­ing de­spite what has been re­ported. Even 7 per­cent GDP (gross do­mes­tic prod­uct) growth still means a lot to­day, be­cause the econ­omy is so large now ,” he said.

To grow the busi­ness, the car­rier has been look­ing be­yond top-tier cities as “core strat­egy” on the Chi­nese main­land. In June 2014, United Air­lines launched thrice-weekly ser­vices be­tween San Francisco

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