Hong Kong has signed a new air services pact with Canada that effectively adds Vancouver and Toronto to Cathay Pacific Airways' list of gateway cities to continental United States. Cathay's general manager for international affairs Andrew Pyne said the new agreement would allow the airline to code-share on US services with oneworld alliance partner American Airlines from the two Canadian cities. The code-sharing covers the same 20 destinations that the airlines mentioned in their proposed code-sharing joint-venture. 'The new deal means we will be able to code-share with American through Vancouver to US cities. In theory, we can also do the same through Toronto, but American has less of a presence there,' Mr Pyne said. Mr Pyne said the US Department of Transportation was expected to approve its joint-venture with American this week. The application had been rubber-stamped by an expanded Hong Kong-US air services pact signed in October that gave US carriers a bigger Asian presence through Chek Lap Kok in exchange. 'We expect to get approval from the department in the next couple of days,' he said, adding that the services were on track to be launched next month. At present, Cathay's primary gateways to the US are Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York, which is now served by Cathay via a stop in Vancouver, will also become a US gateway for the airline courtesy of the new deal. Additionally, Cathay is expected to launch new non-stop services to New York from Hong Kong in the spring. It is understood that Cathay has applied to code-share services from its US gateways to Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose, San Juan, St Louis and Washington-Baltimore. American will place its code on Cathay flights to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, New York JFK and San Francisco, and beyond Hong Kong to and from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore. Meanwhile, Cathay played down recent suggestions that there has been a breakthrough in its ambition to invest in a mainland carrier. A spokeswoman said while Cathay remained interested, it was analysing the mainland market and no talks had been held with mainland airlines.