CATHAY Pacific numbers worldwide were up by a substantial 8.4 per cent in 2006, according to an official.
The airline carried a total of 16.7 million passengers, with a cumulative passenger capacity increase for the system as a whole in 2006 of 7.7 per cent. Load factor for the year was 79.9 per cent.
The Middle East region’s growth also experienced similar growth patterns, Tom Wright, the airline’s general manager, Middle East, India and Africa, told TTN.
Cathay Pacific currently flies to Dubai, Bahrain and Riyadh, and increasing demand means new routes are being constantly reviewed. “We are looking at other opportunities in the region,” said Wright, adding that Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Doha were all under consideration.
Doha, in particular, has seen an increase in traffic to Hong Kong with Qatar Airways. “Competition raises everyone’s game and flights to the region are doing extremely well; there is more than enough business to go around,” he said.
The big story for Cathay at the moment, of course, is China. It is uniquely poised to take advantage of the tremendous global interest in the developing country, and its focus is moving people through this hub, Wright said. “Business as a whole is increasing between China and the Middle East and by teaming up with Dragon Air we can now offer 21 destinations in China,” he said.
And it is all ‘a high-quality of product at a sensible price’, like he puts it: as a full-service airline, Cathay is reputed for its service, while the Dubai-Mumbai flight comes in at around a reasonable Dh1390 – comparable with economy airlines. It’s that sort of combination that keeps the numbers up.