Cathay Pacific Rumor Mill: Flights to Canberra, A350 Expansion and More!

It’s going to be a busy year for Cathay Pacific. So far, they’ve announced new long-haul services to Copenhagen, Dublin, Brussels and Washington D.C.. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk about some of the latest rumors about the airline’s route network.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Hong Kong Airport

Disclaimer: none of these have been confirmed, though whenever rumours circulate out regarding Cathay Pacific, they’re normally pretty reliable. With that said, here we go…

Flights to Canberra?

Following Hong Kong Airlines’ recent expansion into Gold Coast, Cathay is apparently looking to cement their position in the Australian market by launching services to the Australian capital. It is expected to be operated by their Airbus A350-900, which is Cathay’s preferred aircraft for the Australian market.

Parliament House, Canberra 

This comes at an interesting time, especially with Singapore ditching it’s “Capital Express” service, instead choosing to offer a triangle routing between Singapore, Sydney, and Canberra. However, given the A350’s lower operating costs when compared to the Boeing 777 that Singapore Airlines used on their flights, so this route could very well be made feasible.

Massive A350 Expansion

This is a rumor that I’m highly skeptical about. However, it has been reported that Cathay will be expanding flights on the Airbus A350-900. The new routes include Johannesburg, Dubai, Madrid, Amsterdam, two London Heathrow frequencies, two Vancouver frequencies and all Australian routes.

IMG_0593Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class

This rumor is definitely somewhat inaccurate to some degree. First, there is no way Cathay Pacific has enough A350s to operate all those routes on top of what the A350s are already operating now. It’s also to my understanding that most of the routes listed are doing quite well while being operated by a 777, which has a significantly higher capacity than the A350. This means that the chances of Cathay downgauging the routes in spite of sufficient yields are highly unlikely. However, I could definitely see the A350-1000 potentially taking over some of the listed routes.

Airbus A350-1000 First Long-haul Routes

In addition to Cathay Pacific’s announcement that flights to Washington D.C. and Tel Aviv will be operated by the Airbus A350-1000, there are also reports that the Airbus A350-1000 will ultimately be operating flights to Newark, London Gatwick and Los Angeles.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Hong Kong Airport

I doubt that Newark is going to be getting the A350-1000 since it was just recently downgraded to the A350-900 from the higher-capacity (no first class) version of the 777-300ER, but I could definitely see the aircraft taking over on all the other aforementioned routes. This is especially on flights to Los Angeles and Vancouver, which are two key markets that Hong Kong Airlines just entered into. I imagine Cathay is eager to keep as much of their market share as possible by providing an enhanced product in all cabins.

Hong Kong Airlines recently launched service into Los Angeles and Vancouver, two of Cathay’s key North American markets

Additional Flights to Frankfurt?

Cathay is apparently also considering an additional morning frequency on flights to Frankfurt. I’m assuming that the schedule will be similar to Cathay’s morning flights between Hong Kong and Paris/London. I would also guess that the flight will be operated by the A350-900.

img_5418Frankfurt Airport

Rejigging Japanese Flights

It has been reported that Cathay Pacific will soon transfer flights to Nagoya over to Cathay Dragon. The airline will also be suspending its Hong Kong to Taipei to Nagoya flight in favor of an additional Hong Kong to Taipei to Osaka service. This is apparently in an effort to consolidate markets.

In order to operate the additional frequencies, Cathay Pacific is expected to transfer more regional Airbus A330-300 aircraft to Cathay Dragon.

Cathay Dragon Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

While not a rumor, Cathay Pacific has announced that it will operate twice-weekly service to Komatsu, Japan, from April 2nd to June 29th, using a regional A330. They’ll  be selling business class as economy class. These seats are available to high-value oneworld and Marco Polo members.

img_2539Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Regional Business Class

More Regional Routes for Cathay Dragon?

On the topic of Cathay Dragon-related rumors. There have also been rumors swirling around that Cathay Pacific will be handing down more regional routes to Cathay Dragon. I could see Cathay Pacific have Cathay Dragon take over all services to Denpasar to present a more consistent presence. Or, to consolidate the Vietnamese market, Cathay Pacific could also be planning to hand off it’s Ho Chi Minh City routes off to Cathay Dragon.

Bottom Line

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