Cathay spreads regional wings
Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific says it is keen to expand its Middle East network and capitalise on any new opportunities in the region.The airline launched two new direct flights between Dubai and Hong Kong early this year and a new Riyadh-Hong Kong service late last year, bringing the total number of flights from the Middle East to 18 per week. Cathay Pacific has also recently re-introduced first class on the Dubai-Hong Kong route with the launch of the two new non-stop services from the emirate using the modern Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The A330 also features the airline's recently launched business class product, featuring wide stretch-flat seats, and a reception area for passengers to meet and mingle during flight. Economy class passengers also have upgraded inflight entertainment, with 20 different video channels to choose from. "This demonstrates our strong commitment to this region and our desire to bring our home, Hong Kong, even closer to the Middle East," says K Mohandas, Cathay Pacific's marketing superintendent, Bahrain and Offline Middle East. He said the airline has enjoyed a good relationship with Bahrain authorities in its 25 years of operations to the island. Mohandas said Cathay Pacific was optimistic that with Bahrain's growing importance as an efficient Middle East hub, the airline "can continue to market its superior product to the travelling public in Bahrain and nearby Gulf markets in the years to come". He said that while business had been hit by the September 11 events like every other commercial carrier, the airline had continued to invest in its product. "Our system-wide revenues and uplifts were indeed adversely affected and operating schedules have since been trimmed by approximately 10 per cent," said Mohandas. "Despite this, Cathay Pacific has continued to invest in its product - a new twice-weekly Hong Kong-Sapporo service, opening a new premium lounge in Hong Kong airport, launching a brand new Business Class and many others, all designed with the customer in focus." He added that while the airline's "Middle East revenues had declined sharply in the last quarter of 2001, there are signs of a slight revival in the beginning of the year, which we are viewing with a sense of cautious optimism". "Bahrain and the Gulf region constitute a small share of the company's overall revenue; nevertheless, we look to the Middle East region as one offering reasonable growth opportunities both in terms of passenger uplifts and revenue generation," said Mohandas. With a fleet of 79 aircraft including freighters, Cathay Pacific has one of the youngest fleet in the world - average age of just under 5.4 years. The airline operates to 51 destinations worldwide offering convenient connections to 30 Asian cities. The global network with oneworld partners also offers connections to 559 destinations in 133 countries. Cathay Pacific's Frequent Flyer programme - Asia Miles - is one of Asia's leading travel reward programme, offering bigger and better benefits than ever before. With more than 40 world class partners including oneworld airlines, Asia Miles allows passengers to earn miles doing what they normally do, such as flying, staying at hotels, spending on credit or charge cards and more. The airline's newly designed website, www.cathaypacific.com, provides instant access to travel information: from destinations details to real-time departures and arrival updates. Cathay Pacific operates a daily Bahrain/Hong Kong service using the latest B777-200 aircraft.