CATHAY Pacific is increasing the number of weekly flights carrying cargo between Hong Kong and Melbourne.

The airline plans to expand its Hong Kong to Melbourne services from four to seven flights each week, beginning next month.

With support from the Victorian government and Melbourne Airport, Cathay Pacific expects to offer 21 services between the two airports each week by the end of 2023.

The airline is based at Hong Kong International Airport, an important hub for cargo connections to North Asia, Europe and North America.

The Victorian government said each Cathay Pacific passenger flight has capacity for 25 tonnes of air freight. It expects the extra flights to boost exporters’ access to international markets.

Sandeep Pillay, Cathay Pacific regional head of airports, welcomed the state government’s support as the airline aims to return to full service from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

“Melbourne has always been a key port for Cathay Pacific, for both our cargo and travel services,” Mr Pillay said.

Ben Carroll, minister for industry support and recovery, said more international flights to Melbourne would create more jobs for the state.

“These extra services will provide a major boost to exporters as more air freight capacity is available,” he said.

And Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said Cathay Pacific was one of the airport’s longstanding partners.

“We are delighted to see the airline express such confidence in our city and state, and we can’t wait to see their famous green tails touching more often,” she said.

The Victorian government said it has also secured additional Melbourne flights from Qantas, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways this year.