Exit Singapore Airlines, Enter Cathay Pacific

Courtesy Cathay Pacific

Courtesy Cathay Pacific

IN 2004 Singapore Airlines (SIA) made aviation history when it launched the world’s longest commercial long haul flight of 19 hours from Singapore to New York. Nine years later before the end of last year, the 100-seat all-business Airbus A340-500 flight was terminated. SIA continues to offer the alternative through Frankfurt.

Now Cathay Pacific Airways has announced it will introduce non-stop flights from New York to Hong Kong, stepping into the void left by SIA. However, the flight time is shorter at 16 hours. Unlike SIA, Cathay will offer its normal four-class configuration of first, business, premium economy and coach.

While non-stop flights are generally preferred by air travellers, particularly business travellers (the reason that SIA went for an all-business class configuration), Hong Kong may have a growing edge with a large market hinterland compared to Singapore. The competition on transfer traffic between the two rivals has intensified in recent years, with Cathay aggressively promoting Hong Kong as the Asian gateway to destinations in other Asian countries such as India, Myanmar and the Philippines. In particular, India has been a strong market for SIA.

Cathay’s Senior VP Americas Tom Owen said: “We are now the fastest way to get to Southeast Asia.”

Cathay seems well positioned to take advantage of the growing traffic in the region, SIA may be wondering if it has by withdrawing non-stop flights enhanced Cathay’s strength in North America.


About Dingzi
Writer by passion, with professional expertise in aviation, customer service and creative writing. Aviation veteran, author, editor and management consultant. Besides commentary on business issues and life-interest topics, travel stories and book reviews, genres include fiction, poetry and plays. Nature lover who abhors cruelty of any form to animals, and a tireless traveler. Above all, a dreamer.

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