Cathay Pacific May Be About To Launch A New US Route

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There hasn’t been anything from the press office and there was no mention of anything when the airline released its latest traffic figures for June but the Cathay Pacific US Twitter account appears to be teasing a new route to the US.

A 17 second video showing a crossword puzzle being filled in with various US cities was uploaded to Twitter yesterday afternoon (Pacific Time)….

….and the video ended with the question “where are we going next?”

Cathay Pacific doesn’t serve any of the cities named in the crossword puzzle so presumably one of them is the answer to the question posed in the video (its unlikely to be more than one)….but which one?

I genuinely have absolutely no idea but here are my thoughts:

Miami seems an unlikely choice as it’s almost 9,000 miles from Hong Kong and although that’s just about in range of Cathay’s fleet I don’t see what major benefit this route could have for the airline.

Routes to Denver, Austin and Salt Lake City all seem to be too niche to be viable for Cathay and it’s not like American Airlines (Cathay Pacific’s oneworld partner) has a huge presence in any of these cities.

Would Cathay Pacific bother with a flight to Houston? Possibly….but Houston is a United Airlines hub with a limited American Airlines presence so it’s not like Cathay would be able to rely on much connecting traffic.

Seattle is a possibility and a closer tie-in with Alaska Airlines could help make this route work well for Cathay Pacific. On top of this the only airline which flys this route non-stop is Delta and Delta has already said that it’s mothballing its service – I can that imagine Cathay Pacific would like to fill that void.

A route to Las Vegas is an interesting option as there’s undoubtably interest in China for non-stop options to the capital of gambling – a 3x or 4x week service between Hong Kong and sin city may work.

I can see how Honolulu may work for Cathay Pacific with American Airlines connecting passengers on to the mainland. Right now there is no non-stop service between Hong Kong and Honolulu and you can’t get non-stop service to Honolulu from any of the major neighboring airports either (Shenzhen, Macao or Guangzhou). That would potentially give Cathay a good-size population pool from which to get passengers.

Lastly we come to Dallas – the home of American Airlines. This seems like the most likely and the most unlikely option at the same time.

On the one hand you have to wonder why Cathay Pacific would expand on to a route where its primary oneworld partner already offers a service while, on the other hand, you could argue that Cathay would benefit from a lot of connecting traffic (from American) and could even take over the route from American Airlines.

Cathay Pacific doesn’t have a joint venture agreement with American Airlines so I’m not entirely sure why AA would cede the Dallas – Hong Kong route to its oneworld partner…but that doesn’t mean that this couldn’t happen – I’m not privy to any discussions between the airlines and American may feel that its resources are better deployed elsewhere.

Bottom Line

Right now my top three choices for a new Cathay Pacific route to the US are Dallas, Honolulu and Seattle (in no particular order) with Las Vegas also being a possibility…I can’t see the rationale for routes to the other destinations mentioned.

Still, I’m hardly an aviation expert so these are just my best guesses and no doubt others may be able to make arguments why other the destinations could work too (let me know if you can).

How about you guys? Where do you think Cathay will be flying to next?


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