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.