At the end of April, Malaysia will make a farewell to Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific.
Hong Kong flagship carrier has been flying to Kuala Lumpur since 1957, being one of the oldest carriers present in the country. Coming May 1st, Malaysian passengers will not see anymore at KLIA the green/light blue livery of one of Asia’s most prestigious airlines.
It does not mean however that Cathay Pacific is leaving the malaysian market. Just the contrary. All the flights are replaced by Hong Kong regional affiliate Cathay Dragon, the new name for Dragonair. Same type of aircraft – an Airbus A330-300- but different name and a slightly simplified onboard service in economy class.
However, transfers, connections facilities as well as the use of Cathay Pacific lounges for premium passengers will remain unaffected.
Cathay Pacific Country Manager Malaysia and Brunei, Anna Choi, explained to Malaysia News Agency Bernama that “the Cathay Pacific Group remains committed to the Malaysian market and has been serving the country for 60 years since our first flight in August 1957.”
Despite competition of three other carriers on the Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong route (inlcuding LCC AirAsia and Malindo), Cathay Pacific performs very well in Malaysia with passenger’s load factor exceeding 85 per cent during the peak season.
Cathay Dragon is currently flying twice daily to Kuala Lumpur, in parallel to Cathay Pacific two daily frequencies. However, from May 1, the two remaining CX flights will also be transfered to Cathay regional subsidiary.
In total, Cathay Dragon will operate 43 flights a week to Malaysia during the summer season: “In Malaysia, we currently operate 28 flights a week from Kuala Lumpur, ten flights a week from Penang and five flights a week from Kota Kinabalu,” added Mrs. Choi.
In the past, Dragonair used also to fly to Kuching in Sarawak, but they are no plans to revive the route for the time being.
Choi said Cathay is now looking at a seasonal expansion of its Penang-Hong Kong flights from 10 per week to 12 with the addition of two more flights per week from July to October this year. “We would review the market demand and undertake a feasibility study if there is a need for further expansion for the Penang-Hong Kong flights after October,” she said.
Malaysian passengers will in Hong Kong benefit from the expanding network of the Cathay Pacific Group. Last year, the airline launched flights to Madrid and London Gatwick and is adding this summer capacities to Boston, Vancouver, Toronto, Gatwick, San Francisco, Manchester and Paris.
Choi said to Bernama that the arrival of 12 A350-900 aircraft recently and of another 10 A350-900 to come by year-end will help to open up new markets and add more frequencies, she said.
Cathay Dragon,currently serves 53 destinations in Asia, the bulk of its network being its 23 destinations in Mainland China. in Southeast Asia, the carrier currently flies to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.