Yesterday I shared a few rumoured routes from CX Secrets that Cathay Pacific could have been planning to launch to Europe. Shortly after I shared these rumours, they were shared by One Mile At A Time, which elicited some comments that I found interesting.
Cathay Pacific is putting their A350 to good use on some of these newer routes
Some of the best comments consisted of people trying to guess which longhaul destinations they’d fly to based on the CX Secrets memo alone. Some people were making logical guesses, such as Budapest and Belgrade, some were more interesting (Casablanca and Dallas wouldn’t make too much sense, though I do see where people are going based on what they think will produce the highest yields), and some were just funny (as much as I know some people would like to see Portland in Cathay Pacific’s network, Portland doesn’t start with B, C or D).
However, I did see one recurring comment based on where people thought Cathay Pacific was closing their Southeast Asian port. After a little bit of thought, I think this might as well be the case – rumour is that Cathay Pacific may be handing off their Denpasar route to Cathay Dragon.
Cathay Dragon Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport
CX Secrets announced that they were closing one port in China, one port in Europe and one port in Southeast Asia. Our guess for these ports were Beijing, Dusseldorf and Ho Chi Minh City, and for the former two most people seemed to agree. We originally guessed Ho Chi Minh City as the airline was having issues with training pilots for the A350, which seems to frequent Ho Chi Minh city as a longhaul-configured shorthaul route. Given that the group operates to Hanoi and Da Nang as Cathay Dragon already, I figured they might as well pass off their Ho Chi Minh route to completely hand over their Vietnam network to the Cathay Dragon brand, as they did with Malaysia by handing off their Kuala Lumpur route.
However, now that I look at it, Denpasar seems like a logical place for Cathay Dragon to take over. Bali is a holiday Southeast Asian destination to start with, and I’m pretty sure they’re not doing too bad on the route due to how popular the island is. Currently Cathay Pacific runs a 777-300 daily, and a Cathay Dragon A330 does the turn bi-weekly. So much for product consistency!
Cathay Pacific currently operates their most densely configured plane to Bali
My guess is that Cathay Dragon will take over the route completely and increase their frequency to twice daily. Cathay Dragon also seems to run their less densely configured A330s with 42 business class seats on the route, as of tomorrow.
Seatmap of Cathay Dragon’s flight from Denpasar to Hong Kong tomorrow evening
My guess is that they’ll switch to some of the A330s that Cathay Pacific has transferred over to them, which are more densely configured, with only 24 business class seats. To get a feel of such a cabin, I reviewed a Cathay Pacific flight from Taipei to Hong Kong last September, which is configured identically to those that I believe Cathay Dragon could start operating on the route (the aircraft I flew in the review was transferred to Cathay Dragon shortly after I reviewed the route).
I’m just sharing a possible market closure that the Cathay Pacific Group could be doing, as I think that it makes sense for Cathay Pacific to hand off Denpasar to Cathay Dragon. Given that there’s so much inconsistency within the market, Cathay Pacific does need to choose between one brand or the other when appealing to travelers going to Bali.
Doing the above would result in a net decrease of 6 business class passengers per direction per day, and a net increase of 112 economy class passengers per direction per day. It might not be the most probable thing for Cathay Pacific to do, but it’s definitely a possibility especially with the rumours swarming regarding Cathay Pacific’s Denpasar pullout.
Does anyone think there are any other possibilities for Cathay Pacific’s destination closure?