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Cathay Pacific sees 80% load factor from India

According to Charlie Stewart-Cox, General Manager – South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific Airways, the overall outlook of the Indian aviation industry is largely positive. “India is a market with high potential and we look towards playing our full part in growing the aviation business here. We are continuously monitoring market demand and exploring new opportunities,” he said.

The carrier plans to operate non-stop service on three flights a week between Hong Kong and Mumbai, increasing the frequency on this route to 10 flights a week. “The idea is to improve connectivity and offer more convenience for transit passengers to and from long-haul markets. The evening flights departing Mumbai with a morning arrival time enable smooth connections to flights for long-haul destinations,” he said. The decision of non-stop service was taken in the wake of Cathay’s plans for global expansion. The carrier recently enhanced services to Toronto, Los Angeles and Bangkok and plans to add three flights a week each to Toronto and Los Angeles. “We will also add three flights a week to Bangkok from June 28,” he revealed.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair together carried 29 million passengers in 2012. “The demand for travel to and from India has been strong and our passenger loads have been healthy with an average of 80 per cent on all our flights to/from India,” he added.

Replying to a question over the USP of the carrier, Stewart-Cox said that the quality of service offered by Cathay Pacific is unrivalled by any airline. “We focus on delivering the best to our customers. Most travellers tend not to be simply one-off flyers, so we need to give them good reasons to choose to fly Cathay Pacific again and again,’ he explained.

The carrier engages travel agents and tour operators with sales workshops, sales blitz to promote new developments for that market like new routes, products, schedules, etc. in India. “We also organise familiarisation trips for the trade to experience the product which enables them to sell better,” he said. Apart from these, Cathay’s marketing strategy focuses on product, network and service. “Our advertising and marketing campaigns are integrated across different mediums including digital and social media enabling us to interact and engage with customers,” he added. The carrier also introduced the new Premium Economy and Economy class seats to provide greater comfort for passengers travelling on long-haul flights which have progressively made an appearance in its flights from Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad and Mumbai.

Cathay has a fleet of 138 aircraft and 91 aircraft are on order which include 12 Airbus A330-300s, 48 Airbus A350 XWBs, 21 Boeing 777-300ERs, 2 Boeing 747-8Fs and 8 - Boeing 777-200F with a catalogue value of over HK$186.7 billion, all to be delivered by 2020.

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