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Last month a mysterious document purporting to be an internal Cathay Pacific memo was leaked to a number of newspapers and travel websites. The document suggested that Cathay was considering a number of negative service moves and that the airline would start up non-stop service to Canberra and Cape Town in 2018.
The document turned out not to be an internal memo after all and Cathay Pacific rigorously denied that service changes were in the offing. The airline also brushed off suggestions that non-stop routes to Canberra and Cape Town were being considered.
I wrote at the time that I thought the leaked document was far too specific to be a complete red herring and that I suspected that there was a lot more truth to its contents than Cathay would like us to believe.
Well…it looks I was at least partly right.
Cathay Pacific has today announced that it will launch a new seasonal service to Cape Town from November this year.
The new service will launch on 13 November 2018, will be serviced by an Airbus A350 and will operate 3x/week through 18 February 2019 on the following schedule:
CX795 HKG 23:45 – 08:05+1 day CPT (Tue, Thu, Sun)
CX794 CPT 11:05 – 06:55+1 day HKG (Mon, Wed, Fri)
This will be the first time that Hong Kong and Cape Town have been linked by a non-stop service and this is what the airline has had to say about its new route:
We are very pleased to be able to expand our services in Africa, a booming aviation market. Growing our reach to destinations that are not otherwise served from Hong Kong creates considerable new opportunities for business, trade and tourism, in addition to strengthening our home hub.
[T]he new service will meet customer demand for travel to the scenic Western Cape throughout the southern hemisphere’s peak summer months, as well as provide an additional option for South African-based travellers looking to fly on Cathay Pacific to Asia and beyond via Hong Kong.
These have been strange times for Cathay Pacific as the airline attempts to turn around its poor financial position without giving up its premium airline status and while still attempting to add new routes.
On the negative side:
- Cathay Pacific is installing 10-across seating on its 777-300 aircraft (there’s nothing premium about that)
- The airline has struggled to roll out a dine-on-demand service in its Business Class cabins
- There have been rumors suggesting that a buy-on-board food service was (is?) being considered on some regional routes
- The airline cancelled its route to Düsseldorf in September last year
On the positive side:
- Cathay is launching three new European routes from summer 2018 (2 are year-round and one is seasonal)
- The airline’s Barcelona and Tel Aviv routes are getting more frequencies in 2018
- Qatar Airways took a stake in Cathay Pacific in November 2017 and that’s an airline that knows how to run a premium cabin so, hopefully, that rubs off on Cathay.
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class
This new route may only be a seasonal one but it’s still a step in the right direction from a customer point of view….and it may be a good use of AAdvantage Miles if Cathay opens up award space.
A roundtrip Business Class fare between Hong Kong and South Africa will cost 140,000 miles and, as indicative Business Class fares on this route appear to be over $5,700, that would see travelers getting over 4 cents in value out of every AAdvantage mile….and that would be a fantastic return.
Any readers already looking to book this new route? (fares have already been loaded)
Featured image courtesy of Wiki Commons Media