Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that it will launch a daily flight to Beijing from 1 December 2004, in a further step to strengthen Hong Kong as a gateway to the Mainland almost a year to the day after the airline resumed services to the capital.
Cathay Pacific resumed services to Beijing with three weekly flights on 2 December 2003 after a break of 13 years. Four additional weekly flights will offer passengers more options to connect with the airline’s international services through Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific figures for the first nine months of the Beijing flight’s operation show that, even with only three weekly services, more than 40 percent of Beijing passengers made direct Cathay Pacific connections to over 30 cities in the airline’s international network.
The largest proportion connected with flights to and from Auckland, Bangkok, Jakarta, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Manila, Singapore, Sydney and Taipei, because certain flights to and from these cities had close connection times with Cathay Pacific’s current Beijing service. More than one-third more international passengers connected with the flight heading to rather than from Beijing because connection times were more convenient.
Other passengers flew to and from points on the airline’s network in Southeast and North Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Canada.
Cathay Pacific has been granted rights to operate a second daily service to Beijing from the start of the Summer 2005 season. If Cathay Pacific were able to operate that service at a different time of the day that would create wider opportunities for the airline to draw more connecting passengers over Hong Kong.
As of December 2004, four airlines, including Cathay Pacific, will operate 112 weekly services from Hong Kong to Beijing. According to latest Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department figures, from December 2003 through May 2004, about 110,000 passengers travelled from Hong Kong to Beijing and back every month.
Cathay Pacific Manager Beijing K K Leung said: “Ever since our Beijing service started last December, passengers have been asking for more flights on the route. They say the more daily flights we offer, the more convenience they will have for travel between Beijing and Hong Kong and to connect to CX flights to the rest of the world. We are glad that we are going daily yet this is still a basic service for this travel market.”
Cathay Pacific has also been allocated rights upon designation to operate three weekly passenger services to Xiamen and 12 weekly freighter services to Shanghai and will launch services early in 2005, subject to operational requirements. The airline was last year licensed to operate three daily services to both Beijing and Shanghai and three weekly services to Xiamen.