Cathay Pacific eyes Sydney, Melbourne for more Boeing 777s

By David Flynn, January 11 2016
Cathay Pacific eyes Sydney, Melbourne for more Boeing 777s

Cathay Pacific is eyeing a Boeing-led boost for Australian services by upgrading more flights to the Boeing 777-300ER.

The Oneworld member and Qantas frenemy has already promoted two of its four daily Sydney flights to the Boeing 777-300ER, adding 180 more seats per day between Sydney and Hong Kong, and is now considering repeating that move in Melbourne.

"As to which routes might take up more Boeing 777s, surely the two biggest cities are high on the priority list" states Nelson Chin, Cathay Pacific's Regional General Manager for South West Pacific.

More flights for Melbourne?

"Melbourne is a very interesting proposition" Chin says, adding that the airline could also launch a fourth daily flight to Hong Kong.

"There's always scope as to whether we need more flights into a city like Melbourne, where there's a good mix of premium passengers."

"We have three flights a day already, but given that Melbourne Airport has is no curfew, there is still room that you can fit another flight in."

However, as Cathay Pacific has hit the government-imposed limit of how many flights it can run out of Australia's 'big four' international airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – one more Melbourne flight would mean one less from elsewhere on the network.

"It could mean some balancing of capacity, which might mean an upgrade in some cities for more frequency in another port" Chin allows. "That’s a position we do need to seriously consider."

One alternative is to bring the airline's flagship Boeing 777-300ER to Melbourne in place of an A330 flight, allowing CX to stay under the total flights-per-week ceiling.

"That's not to say we're not also considering the likes of Brisbane or Perth, which are also on the radar. We do take a longer-term look into these things, to make the best use of our resources."

Also read: Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 bound for Auckland in 'second half of year'

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 447

Interesting to see that Brisbane and Perth are also on the radar.  I always thought the flights ex Perth weren't doing great?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Dec 2011

Total posts 95

Interesting I wonder if the B777 will be 3 or 4 class. F to and from Melb.

I'm surprised CX don't have a daily First Class service to SYD or MEL. Both are hubs of an allied airline with dedicated First Class ground facilities, in cities with at least some commercial importance, and with CX's small First cabins it shouldn't be too challenging to fill one daily frequency (particularly to SYD).

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 372

I would assume 3 class. The point is to increase capacity. the 777 4 class only has slightly more seats than the A330's they currently use. Would end up being a pointless swap. Except to have a possible few F passengers

Not entirely pointless. The 777 4 class has a higher proportion of PE, Business and also First. So whilst capacity would barely increase, the premium share of seats would increase too. Therefore yield would increase.

Of course if CX just want a capacity increase, the 3 class 777 is the way to go. But if there's substantial corporate demand, and CX have already acknowledged there's certainly quite a bit from SYD (less likely from MEL admittedly), the 4 class 777 makes more sense presuming there's the demand to support it.

14 Aug 2014

Total posts 17

This has been discussed so many times.

The yield isnt there for F.  CX'x J fares are equivalent to what SQ is charging for F / Suites for HKG - SYD/MEL (6-8k aud).

To put a 4 class 77H onto these routes, CX would have to pull it from another city as it doesn't have spare 4 class planes.  The cities on CX's network that currently have F yield at least 10k and up to 20k in the case for JFK

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

Would love to see the 4 class config!

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