(Interview) Why Cathay Pacific are banking on Cape Town
Published 05 April 2018
Cathay Pacific will begin non-stop service to Cape Town on November 13, 2018 using an Airbus A350-900 three times per week.
We are delighted that Cathay Pacific will be represented at AviaDev Africa 2018 in June this year. Ahead of the event, I caught up with Mark Sutch, Regional General Manager - South Asia, Middle East & Africa to find out some more about the route.
JH: Over the past two years, Cathay Pacific have launched seasonal flights for the first time, starting with Barcelona, then Christchurch and now Cape Town. Is this part of a wider strategy for the airline?
MS: Yes, that’s right. We have become more agile in terms of our network planning, and expanding our reach to destinations where there is demand and where we can capture seasonal peaks is very much a reflection of that. Our strategy has also been to introduce destinations that aren’t already served from Hong Kong. Barcelona is a good example. We started the route in the summer of 2017 on a seasonal basis and it performed very well. From mid-April 2018 it is going to become a year-round service.
JH: Why did you choose Cape Town?
MS : Cape Town is one of the fastest growing markets in Africa. It has both business as well as leisure traffic. Direct connectivity to Hong Kong is an added advantage for both the booming Asian economy and the growing Cape Town business and leisure tourism sectors. This route will assist in helping businesses grow, expand internationally, and offer easier access to trade routes.
JH: In terms of the traffic that will feed the flight to Cape Town, where do you expect this to originate?
MS : We expect to see strong demand from our home city of Hong Kong but also from mainland China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, markets which we serve with high frequency and which do not already have a non-stop service to Cape Town. In the other direction, we are expecting to capture the business demand from Cape Town and the Western Cape region in general, but we also see potential elsewhere in Africa to transit via Cape Town to Asia.
JH: Finally, how attractive is Africa to Cathay Pacific and how big a role could it play in the airline’s future?
MS: Economically, Africa is a fast-growing continent, and we have seen increasing two-way demand between Asia and Africa from both business and leisure perspectives. There is a big opportunity and clearly great potential for effective and efficient travel links between Africa and Asia.