Cathay Pacific lays focus on fleet, cargo ops expansion

Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 16:38 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 16:38 IST

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Hong Kong’s largest airline Cathay Pacific has embarked on a large expansion strategy, with developments on several fronts including fleet enhancement, and focus on its cargo business.

Full-service premium carrier Cathay Pacific currently flies 148 wide-bodied aircraft, with an average age of 7.6 years. As part of its fleet expansion, the airline has ordered 72 new aircraft.

“We are laying immense emphasis on fuel efficiency, which is essential for an airline with a wide network. The 72 aircraft ordered include 22 Airbus A350-900 and 26 A350-1000 aircraft, apart from several long-haul Boeing 777-9X planes. The first A350-900 will enter service by February, 2016,” Cathay Pacific Airways General Manager (South Asia, Middle East and Africa) Charlie Stewart-Cox told Deccan Herald.

The airline has already begun retiring its existing Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 fleet in phases, going up to 2017.

Cathay Pacific is perfecting itself as a network carrier, and building better connectivity, and has stressed on seamless products in the air and on the ground for patrons.

“Since 2010, we have invested HK$7.4 billion in our products which includes several revamps of our in-flight facilities, a premium economy class, and also lounge upgrades at the Hong Kong International Airport,” Stewart-Cox said, adding that the region is laying focus on cargo operations as well.

Cathay Pacific claims to operate the world’s second largest air cargo service. At present, the airline operates around 25 large freighters, and has ordered for a new Boeing 747-8 cargo aircraft.

“Cargo is a big focus area, which contributes around 30 per cent to our turnover. Around 50 per cent of our cargo is carried in the belly of our passenger aircraft. We have also invested around HK$5.9 billion in a new cargo terminal at Hong Kong, with an annual capacity of 2.6 million tonnes,” Stewart-Cox said.

Positive about India

Meanwhile, the airline group flies to six metros in India. While Cathay Pacific flies to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, its subsidiary Dragonair flies to Bengaluru and Kolkata, operating 48 flights from India to Hong Kong every week.

“We are happy with India, where we have enjoyed around 85 per cent load factor on average. The outbound market here has grown considerably, and we continue to look for opportunities. While the mainstay here is tourism and visiting relatives abroad, we are also bullish on capturing the corporate travel segment, especially for the business class,” he said, adding that globally, the airline flies to 188 destinations in 51 countries (along with code share partners), while Dragonair flies to 52 destinations.

Even in terms of cargo, the airline operates its service to all six said destinations in India. “India is a significant market for our cargo operations, both in terms of robust exports, and inbound imports,” Stewart-Cox added.

Published 04 August 2015, 16:31 IST

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