Cathay Pacific appears set to launch new non-stop flights to Cape Town later this year, marking the Hong Kong carrier’s second destination in South Africa after Johannesburg.
According to the South China Morning Post, the year-round service is expected to be announced soon, though Cathay Pacific appears to be keeping its cards close to its chest until then.
Responding to an enquiry by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, the airline said it is “always exploring opportunities to fly to new destinations where there is strong market potential, and announcements are made when there is a decision”.
Currently, Cathay Pacific passengers can travel between Hong Kong and Cape Town by flying the airline’s daily service to Johannesburg (JNB), operated by its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and then connecting on to flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town (CPT) by Kulula Airlines, a low-cost subsidiary of British Airways franchisee, Comair.
This journey takes 17 hours and 55 minutes in total with a minimum transfer time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. According to the Post, a non-stop flight would take about 14 hours.
The route will contend with Singapore Airlines’ own service to Cape Town, which the carrier is set to increase from four flights per week to once a day starting March 26, 2018. These flights also go through Johannesburg, however unlike Cathay Pacific’s existing service, the entire route is operated by Singapore Airlines under the same flight number and with the same aircraft, the Airbus A350.
Cathay Pacific is also set to launch new non-stop flights to Washington DC this year, with its newest aircraft, the to-be-delivered A350-1000, currently set to make its international long-haul debut on the route. Flights to the US capital are due to take off on September 15, 2018.