Cathay Pacific upgrades another Sydney flight to the Boeing 777

By David Flynn, February 15 2017
Cathay Pacific upgrades another Sydney flight to the Boeing 777

Cathay Pacific will add a third Boeing 777 onto the Sydney-Hong Kong route from October 29 to cater for increased demand, especially for onwards flights to Europe and North America.

The Boeing 777-300ER will slot into Cathay's daily CX161/162 service, replacing the current Airbus A330 and adding 90 more seats to the flight with an emphasis on the premium economy and economy cabins.

CX162 leaves Sydney at 11.25am to reach Hong Kong at 5.50pm, and then turns around as CX161 to depart Hong Kong at 9.25pm and arrive into Sydney at 9.45am the next day.

This is the third time since February 2015 that Cathay Pacific has boosted a Sydney-Hong Kong flight to the bigger Boeing 777, and sees CX110/111 as the only Airbus A330 remaining on the roster.

The move will give Cathay Pacific a competitive capacity edge against its Oneworld frenemy Qantas, which currently has just two daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong: QF127/128 on a Boeing 747, and QF117/118 on an Airbus A330.

The two airlines have enjoyed a monopoly on the popular Sydney-Hong Kong corridor since Virgin Atlantic abandoned the route – and Australia – in May 2014.

Sibling Branson brand Virgin Australia is expected to begin direct flights to Hong Kong by mid-year, although the airline has not yet revealed which city will be the route's Aussie anchor.

In related news, Cathay Pacific expects most of its Australian flights to be running on the airline's new Airbus A350 jets by 2019, except for routes where the higher-capacity Boeing 777 is needed to beat the current restrictions on the number of flights into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, which are capped at 70 per week.


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

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 147

Doubt VA will fly to HKG mid year... considering we're 3 months about away from June.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1034

VA was given 7 flights/week to HKG on 16 June last year. They are valid for 5 years from that date, however they have to start the route by 1 June this year or IASC could remove the route allocation.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

The 773 for CX holds about 50 more pax than the A350 - perhaps they feel SYD will need this long term capacity more than they'll need the competitive edge rolling out the A350 on that route provides. Given this coincides with them saying the A350 will be brought on to many AU routes over the next couple of years, makes me wonder if SYD won't feature as highly on that roll out as it traditionally does.

08 Feb 2017

Total posts 7

And soon to be 70 more than the A350 and ~110 more than the A330 when they move to 10 abreast in Y...

Given the capacity limits out of Sydney I would expect that CX will eventually convert SYD-HKG into an 'all-Boeing 777' route.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1447

CX expanding because demand increasing. Meanwhile QF continue to neglect Asia desctination.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Not more QF bashing, seriously!

CX having greater demand on this route makes perfect sense. The traffic out of HK visiting Syd for business outstrips the reverse. National carriers are popular. End of story. 

CX does seem to be becoming an increasingly popular choice for Australians. Not that they weren't in the past but product improvements and competitive pricing seem to be working. There'll be big overall increases in load capacity with this and A350 upgrades. 


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1447

"CX does seem to be becoming an increasingly popular choice for Australians." - and there  is good reason for this. Not only CX has by fare more flights from Australia to Hong Kong than QF to whole Asia, but also hard product from CX is by far better than QF. This especially evident on SkyBed 1 example found on A330. Though I cannot get why I should be proud to fly CX and not QF considering that market for Australia-Asia is enormous.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 122

Instead of bashing Qantas, perhaps you you check some facts. Skybed 1 no longer exists on Hong Kong as both the A330 and 747 that serve HKG have either the new business suites or Skybed 2. 

I've given up on Qantas for Asian destinations. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2016

Total posts 57

which 777 have F? does anyone have any insight into why CX doesn't serve syd-HK with F when no one else regularly does?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2016

Total posts 11

No first class offered on Australia/NZ to HKG flights.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1255

Why would they?

I think you have answered your own question, Fresh. CX doesn't fly first class on Sydney to Hong Kong because there's no demand for it. Qantas tried it on the A380 a long while back but the cabin was rarely full and most of the occupied seats were booked with points. There's simply not demand for first class on this eight hour flight, not at the prices airlines have to charge to position it above business.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 103

Then why there's demand for first class on Singapore-Sydney flights which is of even shorter than Hong Kong - Sydney route?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 459

CX have 2 777-300ER configurations.  One has 40J+32W+268Y, while the other has 6F+53J+34W+182Y.   So the version they don't send to Australia has a much large premium-end allocation.  I would expect that if the J v Y yields would have a lot to do with which version is used.  Note that the A330 has more Y than the 777 with F.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

Readers are reminded to keep their comments on the topic, which - for those who need reminding - is Cathay's move to add another Boeing 777 onto the Sydney-Hong Kong route, not "armchair airline CEO / analyst" takes on other airlines.

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