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Cathay adding extra nonstop flights to Brisbane over summer

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 9, 2017

A supplied image of Cathay Pacific's first A350's maiden flight. (Airbus)
Cathay will fly Airbus A350-900s to Brisbane from the end of March. (Airbus)

Cathay Pacific plans to offer more nonstop flights to Brisbane over summer through de-linking its four times weekly Hong Kong-Cairns-Brisbane service.

Under the new schedule to operate from October 2017 to March 2018, Cathay will fly nonstop between Cairns and Hong Kong three times a week, while the Brisbane-Hong Kong route will be served with 11 weekly nonstop flights.

Currently, the oneworld alliance member flies Brisbane-Hong Kong daily and operates four Hong Kong-Cairns-Brisbane-Cairns-Hong Kong services a week.

Cathay general manager for southwest Pacific Nelson Chin said the schedule change was in response to growing demand for leisure and business travel.

Further, the new Cairns services will be retimed to offer shorter connections to Asia and beyond via Cathay’s Hong Kong hub.

The move to have nonstop flights to Cairns comes as Singapore Airlines’ regional wing SilkAir prepares to boost its schedule from Cairns to Singapore later in 2017.

SilkAir de-linked its three times a week Singapore-Darwin- Cairns-Singapore flight in May 2016, a year after the airline’s inaugural service touched down in North Queensland.


The airline plans to increase Cairns to four flights a week from June, while a fifth weekly service will be added for some peak months. All flights are operated with Boeing 737-800 narrowbodies and offer connections to Asia and Europe via SilkAir’s Singapore hub.

Hong Kong Airlines, which is part of Virgin Australia shareholder HNA Group’s stable of airlines, is also on the Hong Kong-Cairns route.

Other long-haul destinations from Cairns included Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita (Jetstar) and Manila (Philippine Airlines), as well as seasonal services to Guangzhou (China Southern), Seoul Incheon (Jin Air) and Shanghai (China Eastern).

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

CX146 Cairns-Hong Kong

Thursday, Saturday, Sunday



CX103 Hong Kong-Cairns

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday



CX150 Brisbane-Hong Kong
(New nonstop service)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday



CX155 Hong Kong-Brisbane
(New nonstop service)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday



CX156 Hong Kong-Brisbane




CX157 Brisbane-Hong Kong





Comments (9)

  • Oskar Clare


    This is good and hopefully it will become year-round

  • David


    It’s interesting to see that both Silk Air and Cathay Pacific can service Cairns internationally, yet Qantas doesn’t have any International services from Cairns. Maybe if Qantas steps up its 787 orders, it can commence to operate a few International Air services from Cairns, and maybe even Darwin. and Townsville.

  • JR


    Could be a pre-emptive move in case Virgin Australia are planning to launch Brisbane – Hong Kong.
    That’s if Virgin Australia ever make up their mind what they’re doing.

  • Bradford Rice


    This is a good idea because it will increase the competition against Qantas

  • Joe


    The way VA are stalling on announcing the operational city for the HKG service, they most probably will decide on the day itself…

  • Dave


    David: Both Silk Air and Cathay fly from Cairns to their hub which provide onward connections. Qantas doesn’t have this ability and as such, wouldn’t be able to make such flights profitable

  • Craigy


    Dave, well said.

    @ David; With the new services, Cairns gets one less service a week. So four down to three. Not exactly an endorsement of Cairns as a destination from their hub in Hong Kong.

  • Tim


    Cairns is a leisure market, thus limited corporate/business travel which is wear the money is for an airline like Qantas. Being a leisure market tends to mean lower ticket prices thus, limited profitability. keeping in mind Asian airlines tend to have lower operating costs than Aussie based airlines.

    Prior to the collapse of Ansett, Qantas operated flights to Singapore and HongKong, and Japan from Cairns.
    In 2002 they restructured and started Australian Airlines Mark II which was primarily based out of Cairns. Australian Airlines was economy class only flying 767s. Australian airlines took over the HK, Sing and some of the Japanese flights from Cairns. Ultimately thought Australian Airlines did not make money When Qantas took Jetstar international they canned Australian Airlines.. Jetstar took over the Japanese services and Hong Kong was dropped altogether. Jetstar Asia did operate the Singapore Cairns route for a while.

    Cathay did increase their flight frequency into Cairns when the Qantas group pulled out, but since this time Hong Kong Airlines has started flying to Cairns. What Cathay is trying to do is reposition its flights to Australia due to new competition from Hong Kong Airlines and Virgin and other Chinese carriers.

  • Joe


    Being a leisure market, I think it’s a good thing that CX can commit to a year round 3 weekly dedicated HKG-CNS operation. The fact that Hong Kong Airlines are in on the action too means there is almost a daily service between the 2 cities.

    As a side note, I remember in the mid 90s prior to the Asian economic crisis, QF even had a CNS-BKK 767 operation!

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