Cathay Pacific to Introduce Fifth Daily Flight to London

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Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen,
Editor, Routesonline

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Cathay Pacific to Introduce Fifth Daily Flight to London

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced the introduction of a fifth daily return flight between its Hong Kong International Airport hub and London Heathrow, scheduled to begin from June 27, 2013.  The additional flight further demonstrates Cathay Pacific’s business commitment to serve key long-haul markets around the globe with multiple frequencies offering maximum customer choice.

The Hong Kong-based carrier began serving London in 1980 initially with flights to Gatwick Airport, introducing non-stop links from March 1984.  It began also operating to Heathrow Airport in June 1991, eventually ending its Gatwick operation towards the end of the subsequent year.  It most recently increased capacity in December 2005 with the introduction of a fourth daily frequency.

In addition to the 35 frequencies a week to London the new flight brings, Cathay Pacific offers 25 flights a week to New York City and 17 to Los Angeles.  Both routes are planned to gain additional frequencies in 2013.  Even in medium-haul markets such as Sydney and Melbourne, Cathay Pacific offers 28 and 21 flights a week, respectively.

“Whether getting passengers to their destinations on a non-stop flight or connections via our convenient, world renowned hub in Hong Kong, we are working to expand the network in a way that brings additional flight options to our customers.  It is just another way we are giving passengers more reasons to choose Cathay Pacific,” said John Slosar, Chief Executive Officer, Cathay Pacific Airways.

The upcoming fifth London Heathrow frequency will be operated with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and will operate to a schedule just 15 minutes different to one of the carrier’s existing flight rotations on the route. It is understood that the service will utilise slots acquired from Air New Zealand as part of the partnership agreed between the two carriers last year which will see Air New Zealand end its own flights between Hong Kong and London and instead codeshare with Cathay Pacific on the route.

Across the five daily flights, the airline will offer a mix of First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seating.  According to the carrier, Premium Economy Class continues to grow in popularity on the route and the new flight will add approximately 1,000 extra Premium Economy Class seats each way to the market every month.

In 2011 around 1.41 million passengers flew between London Heathrow and Hong Kong according to official UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) statistics.  MIDT data says that around 965,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on the route during the same period.  This data in the table below shows that Cathay Pacific has the largest share of O&D demand of the carriers that serve both non-stop and via other hubs.  British Airways also serves the route, alongside Virgin Atlantic Airways on flights terminating in Sydney and Air New Zealand's previously highlighted flights originating in Auckland, which end this year.

TRAFFIC DEMAND BETWEEN HONG KONG AND LONDON HEATHROW (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2011)

Rank

Airline

O&D Passengers

% Total Demand

1

Cathay Pacific Airways (CX)

394,593

40.9 %

2

British Airways (BA)

204,366

21.2 %

3

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)

128,938

13.4 %

4

Air New Zealand (NZ)

76,083

7.9 %

5

Qantas Airways (QF)

62,561

6.5 %

6

Emirates Airline (EK)

17,721

1.8 %

7

Finnair (AY)

11,244

1.2 %

8

Jet Airways (9W)

10,461

1.1 %

TOTAL

965,305

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