Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa’s New Partnership

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Airline alliances are becoming less exclusive than they used to be. A few years ago, there were three big teams on the battlefield (well, two big teams and one reject team that went ahead to name themselves SkyTeam). In recent years, though, we’ve seen quite a few inter-alliance partnerships happen – one of the latest ones was between Cathay Pacific and Air Canada, which Jason’s written extensively about.

a large white airplane at an airportCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

I guess this trend is continuing, as Cathay Pacific has partnered with another airline. While I don’t think there’s a huge customer impact yet, I am pretty happy that this partnership is happening (not that I think there’s anything to lose for either airline).

As of March 27, 2017, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa Group have announced a partnership. This means that Cathay Pacific will be partnering with Lufthansa, as well as partner airlines Swiss and Austrian.

img_3900Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

img_1866Swiss Airbus A340-300 Zurich Airport

Cathay Pacific will be codesharing on 14 routes from Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna, specifically between:

  • Frankfurt and Berlin
  • Frankfurt and Brussels
  • Frankfurt and Budapest
  • Frankfurt and Dresden
  • Frankfurt and Hannover
  • Frankfurt and Hamburg
  • Frankfurt and Munich
  • Frankfurt and Nuremberg
  • Frankfurt and Oslo
  • Frankfurt and Stuttgart
  • Zurich and Berlin
  • Zurich and Brussels
  • Zurich and Florence
  • Zurich and Geneva
  • Zurich and Hamburg
  • Zurich and Stuttgart
  • Zurich and Venice
  • Vienna and Frankfurt
  • Vienna and Zurich
  • Vienna and Dusseldorf

IMG_1651Connections to quite a few places through Zurich just got a lot easier

I’m not sure how Lufthansa thinks about Cathay Pacific possibly cannibalizing demand for direct flights to Vienna, as their economy class is currently far superior to Austrian’s. While that will change soon, Cathay Pacific currently offers one of the world’s best economy products to Europe (I can’t speak personally for their A350 to Dusseldorf, but I’ve heard great things about it), while all Austrian offers is 3-4-3 economy seating. I also prefer Cathay Pacific’s business class to Austrian’s business class configuration.

img_5647Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class

The Lufthansa Group is codesharing on Cathay Pacific’s flights between:

  • Hong Kong and Auckland
  • Hong Kong and Cairns
  • Hong Kong and Melbourne
  • Hong Kong and Sydney

a group of airplanes parked on a runway
Excitement will ensue for passengers flying on Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian from Europe to Auckland and Australia (courtesy Lufthansa Group)

Ultimately under similar prices I’d fly Cathay Pacific over Lufthansa in any cabin class (apart from premium economy, as they look similar so I can’t speak for that), but nevertheless I’m sure people are excited about this added flexibility.

a close-up of a seat Lufthansa Airbus A380 Business Class

a row of seats in an airplaneLufthansa Airbus A380 Economy Class

Frequent flyer programmes will also be reciprocated to some extent, though unless I’m flying on one of the affected routes above, I wouldn’t be too excited. As far as I know, the above routes will all be codeshared which allows reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, though all other routes are unaffected.

More details about this can be found in a Cathay Pacific press releaseThe partnership will officially start on April 26th, with tickets bookable between airlines from April 5th.

Bottom Line

I’m excited about this partnership. While I failed my Introduction to Business course last year so I won’t speak publicly about how this benefits the airlines, I’m sure that there isn’t much to lose in a partnership situation like this. I can’t wait for further benefits to be introduced between the two airlines, and it looks like we’re seeing the importance and exclusivity of airline alliances slowly fade away.

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