Cathay Pacific plans to suspend flights to Cairns from October 2019, severing the only direct air connection between Hong Kong and the Australian city.

At the moment, Cathay flies the route four times per week as CX147 (flight time: seven hours and 10 minutes) on the outbound journey and CX146 (flight time: seven hours and 20 minutes) on the return journey.

In a statement provided to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, the airline said it was making the decision for “commercial reasons” and stresses that it will continue to operate passenger services to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

During the suspension, the Hong Kong to Cairns route will be operated by Cathay’s codeshare partner, Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways. Cathay did not say when the route might be resumed.

“The operation and commercial landscape has changed, but we will keep a close eye on the opportunity of resuming service to Cairns on our own aircraft,” a Cathay Pacific spokesperson told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

Now, if passengers wish to make the majority of the journey to Cairns on Cathay Pacific metal, they will need to fly to another Australian city first (likely Brisbane), and then take another domestic flight on a different airline, such as Qantas or Virgin Australia. This will add several hours to the journey.

Other connecting flight options from Hong Kong to Cairns include Singapore Airlines (with a stop in Singapore) and Air Niugini (with a stop in Port Moresby).