Cairns will lose its last remaining nonstop link to Hong Kong from October 2019 when Cathay Pacific ends flights to Far North Queensland.
Cathay Pacific confirmed the withdrawal from the Cairns route in an emailed statement to Australian Aviation.
“Cathay Pacific will suspend its scheduled service between Hong Kong and Cairns effective from 27 October 2019,” the statement said.
“At Cathay Pacific, we are always evaluating our network deployment as part of our overall business review.”
Reservations for Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong-Cairns flights have been closed for travel after October 27 2019, according to the AirlineRoute website.
Cathay Pacific has closed reservations for Cairns flights, for travel on/after 27OCT19. China Southern in Feb/Mar 2019 also closed reservation for Cairns for travel on/after 01JUL19, including Northern winter season on/after 27OCT19 https://t.co/1Rlmc5fV6Y
— Airlineroute (@Airlineroute) April 26, 2019
Currently, Cathay Pacific serves Cairns four times a week from its Hong Kong hub with three-class Airbus A330-300s offering 39 business, 21 premium economy and 191 economy seats for a total of 251.
The flights operate as an overnight service from Hong Kong, with the CX147 departing at 2120 local time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, arriving in Cairns at 0630 the following day.
The A330-300 then does a Cairns-Brisbane-Cairns rotation, before taking off from Cairns at 1505 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays bound for Hong Kong.
In the past, Cathay Pacific has during busy travel periods such as the Australian summer holidays de-linked Brisbane and Cairns by offering three nonstop flights a week to Cairns and 11 nonstop flights a week to Brisbane from its Hong Kong hub.
The airline said it would continue to offer Cairns as a destination in its route network through its codeshare partner Qantas.
In October 2018, Qantas added its QF airline code on Cathay Pacific’s nonstop flights from Cairns and Perth to Hong Kong, as well as flights beyond Hong Kong to the likes of India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
At the same time, Cathay Pacific added its CX airline code on select Qantas-operated domestic services from Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
The two carriers are also attempting to forge a deeper codeshare agreement involving each other’s flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Hong Kong. The application is before Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC). Virgin Australia has called on the commission to knock back the application on competition grounds.
Cathay Pacific said it would ensure that the impact on passengers booked to travel between Hong Kong and Cairns after October 27 would be minimal.
The end of nonstop flights to Cairns will leave Cathay Pacific with five destinations in Australia – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – with passenger services. The airline also has cargo flights out of Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba.
Cathay Pacific’s decision to end flights to Cairns follows Hong Kong Airways’ withdrawal from the market in October 2018, when the Virgin Australia alliance partner ended its flights to both Cairns and the Gold Coast.