Cathay Pacific cuts flights to London, New York, Seattle, Washington

The struggling Hong Kong carrier has culled several loss-making routes to the UK and the USA.

By David Flynn, November 17 2020
Cathay Pacific cuts flights to London, New York, Seattle, Washington

Cathay Pacific has reportedly scrapped several key routes to the UK, Europe and the USA as the airline struggles to rein in costs amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Flights to London Gatwick Airport and the New York-adjacent Newark Airport are among casualties reported by The South China Morning Post, although London Heathrow and New York JFK remain in the network.

Dublin, Brussels, Washington DC and Seattle – which was launched only last year – have all been permanently removed from the airline's international schedule, according to an internal memo sighted by the Post.

However, according to the paper, "a source said while the axed routes would definitely not return next year, they could be reinstated once global travel returns to normal."

How far away 'normal' is remains a matter of conjecture, with industry experts warning that pre-Covid levels of demand may not resume until at least 2024.

Cathay Pacific responds

"As we have previously announced, we expect to operate well under 25% of 2019 passenger capacity in the first half of 2021 and below 50% for the entire year," a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific told Executive Traveller.

"After careful consideration, we believe it is unlikely we will operate flights services to these destinations – Gatwick, Dublin and Brussels in Europe, and Newark, Seattle and Washington in North America – in the near future."

"Flight services to and from these destinations have been suspended for many months already due to shrinking passenger demands. We remain in a very dynamic situation and we will continue to review our flight network.

As previously reportedCathay Pacific has also delayed the delivery of its Boeing 777-9 jets to "beyond 2025" as part of a sweeping restructure of the airline.

The Oneworld member has 21 Boeing 777-9 jetliners on order, with deliveries previously slated to begin in 2021 and stream through to 2024.

The Boeing 777-9 was intended to become Cathay's new flagship, and also serve as the launchpad for all-new first class suites and business class seats.

Closer to home, Cathay Pacific is still to reveal which regional routes it will take over from its now-retired Cathay Dragon arm, which will be handed across to low-cost sibling HK Express, and which destinations could be dropped entirely.

Read more: What Cathay Dragon's closure means for Marco Polo members, Qantas flyers

David

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.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 154

Makes sense to get rid of Gatwick and Newark, but surprised about Seattle. 

CX went quite quickly up to a daily flight pre-Covid, and it is an Alaska hub who will be a future member of oneworld. Hopefully this is one to come back soon, CX was a great way to get to SEA (not much longer than via LAX and often much cheaper). 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 96

Indeed, hardly a surprise. LGW was essentially an overflow due to slot availability when LHR was 'full' - we saw similar expansion to LGW from Qatar, Emirates and EVA as well. As and when demand returns to pre-pandemic levels then we may see this route re-start, but until then its probably difficult to see the economics justifying it.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 543

How busy is the YVR route for CX?

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 88

Biz class is hit or miss. Economy is consistently full

KKQ
KKQ

17 Nov 2020

Total posts 1

3 daily, YVR has the largest HK community overseas.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 88

I live in Seattle and I’m not surprised they’re cutting it. Even I prefer to fly out through YVR as it offers better connections from HK. Most of my biz trip flying mates from the USA prefer YVR (2 daily, formerly 3) ans SFO over SEA. CX has partnered with AC from YVR for connecting flights


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