Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways, Asia’s largest international passenger airlines will start long-haul destination to Seattle, United States next March, and launches more new routes to avoid direct competition with rivals on existing flight destinations.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay, the loss-making airline teased social media users with a crossword puzzle featuring the names of American cities, accompanied by the question: “Where are we going next?”
Cathay Pacific’s ongoing expansion is designed to boost revenue from new markets. Existing destinations in Europe and the United States have been the subject of intense competition through cheaper air fares offered by rivals.
Seattle, dubbed the “Emerald City”, is home to the headquarters of major corporations including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, and is also a major manufacturing centre for aerospace giant Boeing.
Seattle is Cathay Pacific’s first destination announced for 2019, and will come hot on the heels of its Washington launch in September, one of nine new routes added this year.
The two routes will raise the number of US destinations to eight. The airline currently flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York John F. Kennedy and Newark, Boston and Chicago.
Cathay Pacific will fly to Seattle four times a week from March 2019 with the Airbus A350 aircraft.
In recent years, the carrier has turned to launching new destinations with no rivals, including Barcelona, Christchurch, Dublin, Copenhagen and Cape Town. The routes have been launched with no direct competition and fewer threats from mainland Chinese carriers, which have been hurting Cathay Pacific by undercutting its fares.
Apart from competing for travellers from Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific’s expansion is also an attempt to keep up with rivals in Asia.
The airline flies to 14 European destinations, but Air China connects to 20, while Singapore Airlines is serving 15 routes. Compared with other major Asian carriers in the mainland US market (excluding Hawaii), Cathay Pacific will serve eight airports – more than its mainland Chinese rivals and bettered only by Korean Air, with nine destinations.