Cathay Pacific began Australia-bound flights using its A350 aircraft less than two months ago, starting with Melbourne. It has now announced that it will expand its deployment of the aircraft to the country on its Brisbane and Perth routes.
The airline is set to begin daily Brisbane A350 flights next week, while an equipment change to A350 operation on the CX170/CX171 Perth route will come into effect starting October 2017. Additionally, a second A350 will be used on CX’s Melbourne service (its third is served by a Boeing 777).
“We’ve been flying into Perth since 1970 and we’re thrilled to be introducing our newest aircraft on our direct services to and from Hong Kong,” said Cathay Pacific general manager Southwest Pacific, Nelson Chin. “It not only means a bigger aircraft, it also offers more comfortable cabins and more seats using our very latest designs.”
Cathay Pacific configures its A350s in a three-tier set-up, with 38 business, 28 premium economy and 214 economy class seats. The change from its existing A330 on the Perth route will average out to approximately 406 additional seats per week.
The Hong Kong airline’s Australasia enhancement comes following a reported HK$575 million (US$74 million) loss in its 2016 annual financial result statement, announced last week. Speaking about the loss and Cathay Pacific’s response to it, chairman John Slosar noted that the airline would be “increasing our passenger capacity by 4-5 per cent per annum, at least until the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport is open”.
The airline will also be introducing new destinations, increasing frequencies on its most popular routes, and adding more fuel-efficient aircraft to its fleet, Slosar added.
Cathay Pacific flew its first A350 in October last year, to Auckland, and late last month announced it would be launching direct A350 flights between Hong Kong and Christchurch. February also saw the announcement of an added fifth weekly flight on the carrier’s Adelaide service, which is expected to take effect starting July 5, 2017.
In related news, Virgin Australia earlier this week confirmed that its new A330-200 service connecting Hong Kong with Australia would fly from Melbourne. The carrier’s first service to Greater China, the Melbourne-Hong Kong route is also expected to begin on July 5.