Cathay Pacific Airways will launch services to Beijing on December 2, after an absence of more than 13 years from the mainland market. The carrier said yesterday it had been issued an operating permit by the General Administration for Civil Aviation in China. It will fly three times a week to the capital from Hong Kong. Cathay chief operating officer Philip Chen Nan-lok said the three weekly flights were 'just a start' to the carrier's ambitions. The airline will press the government for additional services to Beijing and to launch services to Shanghai and Xiamen. Alan Wong Ka-lun, Cathay general manager for corporate communications, said the flights would leave Hong Kong for Beijing at 5.50pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with returning flights at 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mr Wong said the fares for the Hong Kong-Beijing run would be announced in coming days.