Cathay ramps up Australia focus

Cathay ramps up Australia focus
By admin

Cathay Pacific has stressed the importance of the local market as Australia became the first international destination to receive its new premium economy product.

Speaking to Travel Today on board its new A330 aircraft featuring the premium economy cabin as it debuted in Sydney, general manager SW Pacific Dane Cheng said the introduction of the new class was primarily to bring Cathay’s offering in line with that of Qantas and Virgin Australia, which already offer a similar product on the route.
The product will be rolled out across all its Australian services by the end of the year, with all long-haul destinations to receive the seats by the end of 2013.
The launch came as the carrier reported strong load factors in the first two months of 2012, although Cheng admitted that figures were likely to have been distorted by Chinese New Year. A more accurate picture is likely to emerge when Cathay releases its March figures.
However, Cheng remained “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook for 2012 despite the spiralling cost of fuel and growing competition.
“Last time around during the global financial crisis, we saw a slow down in prices, but this time round, prices are staying stubbornly high,” he said.
While Cathay’s leisure business had not felt the full effect of Australia’s growing trend for outbound travel, business sales had been strong, Cheng said, spearheaded by encouraging growth from Perth.
“There’s lots of competition and supply out there, particularly in Australia, but our strength is going via Hong Kong,” he said.

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