Cathay Pacific's Aussie travellers look beyond Hong Kong

By David Flynn, February 6 2018
Cathay Pacific's Aussie travellers look beyond Hong Kong

When most travellers think of Cathay Pacific they think of Hong Kong. While that’s perfectly understandable – after all, the airline is based in the Asian metropolis and serves as the country’s de facto flag-carrier – Cathay Pacific takes the rest of the world under its wings.

More than two out of three Australians flying with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong continue onto other destinations in the airline’s network. “Two thirds, even more, move beyond Hong Kong," reveals Cathay Pacific's General Manager for the South West Pacific region, Rakesh Raicar.

The top five countries visited by Australians flying Cathay Pacific are China, the USA, Japan, the UK and Korea, Raicar tells Australian Business Traveller, drawing a direct line between those destinations and their roles as key trading partners for Australia.

China of course leads the pack, with Cathay Pacific and its regional sibling CathayDragon flying to some 28 cities through the mainland – including a solid flights 17 per day into Beijing and 18 to Shanghai. “There are so many frequencies that it’s very easy to connect,” Raicar says.

However, Virgin Australia’s push into Hong Kong – beginning with Melbourne-Hong Kong flights, and potentially extending to Sydney or Brisbane by year’s end – is eating into Cathay’s share of the pie, Raicar admits.

“There is no doubt about it. It's a basic fundamental law that more competition is going to dilute any other airline's business.”

“That said, Hong Kong is a very competitive market and Cathay is used to operating in a highly competitive environment. So based on our network and the kind of product and services that we have, I’m quite confident that we’ll be fine.”

Raicar cites the number of daily flights as one of Cathay’s strengths for the Australian business traveller. With four daily flights from Sydney and three from Melbourne, passengers can choose a flight time that suits their schedule.

Treating Hong Kong as a hub rather than an end destination also works in Cathay’s favour. “Because we are a network carrier, we are not only dependent on Hong Kong.”

That network will this year expand to Washington DC – which will be served by the airline's new Airbus A350-1000 – Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin and a new mainland China destination in Nanning.

And with Cathay already at the limit of 70 flights per week permitted between Hong Kong and Australia’s four major gateways of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the airline will cater to growing demand by using larger aircraft rather than adding extra flights.

Sydney is likely to see its one remaining Airbus A330 flight upgraded to an Airbus A350-1000 in the second half of this year, with almost equal capacity to the Boeing 777-300ER jets rostered onto the airline’s three other daily flights.

All other Airbus A330s out of Australia will be replaced by either Airbus A350 or Boeing 777 jets over the next three years.


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 349

"the airline will cater to growing demand by using larger aircraft rather than adding extra flights."

Time for an A380! ;)

05 May 2016

Total posts 551

That's possibly the next step if demand grows to the level that the jets they're moving to this time are still insufficient.


05 Jun 2012

Total posts 125

According to an inside source, CX are very unlikely to buy the A380 since they are heavily dependent on cargo to boost their revenue, and the A380 doesn't offer such a good mix of cargo and pax for them.

26 Feb 2017

Total posts 4

Love using Cathay Pacific from Perth to Europe and/or Canada. I have heaps of QANTAS FF points and with the taxes and surcharges, plus the availability of trying to get flights Cathay fits right into my plans very often.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 33

Cathay is great for QFF awards. Pay slightly more in points, but very little cash.


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 160

Perth to either US or Canada works well with Cathay - always look for their flights first in that direction.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

20 Jun 2013

Total posts 29

CX to HK and then the same or KA into China, works a treat and very satisfied with thier connection and availability.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 1

As most of my travel is to Asia, I swapped my QFF for Cathay and have never looked back. Most importnantly, they fly direct to HK from Adelaide, but also excellent connections, fantastic lounges and the best service.

11 Jan 2017

Total posts 15

How come I continue to find out, after many trip on their J class, that it is quite easier to experience a lower-than-standard from this carrier, esp. the very poor ground services, than other airlines, like TG, SQ or even QF?

24 Jul 2017

Total posts 4

Would be interested to hear your experience. Where did you leave from in Australia?

11 Jan 2017

Total posts 15

Sydney at least 4 times

Melbourne once

I often found out that their staff at the Pier and the Wing First lounge as well as the gate in Hongkong were so ignorant, and unfriendly, if not rude.
You don’t expect them to say thank you (even when I said that when I got in and left the lounge, a few times that happened) or or sorry to their customers. Especially when you compare that level of Premuim-class services to other Asian carriers eg. TG, SQ or ANA.

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