The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 18 , 2014
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Calcutta to get two more Cathay Pacific flights

New Delhi, March 17: Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific plans to add two more flights to Calcutta and convert the Delhi-Bangkok-Hong Kong flight to a direct daily service.

The airline wants to add more flights in the Indian sector, including Calcutta, if it gets the permission.

“We would like to fly more flights out of Calcutta if we get the permission to do so. It is a very important sector to us and has helped us to increase our profitability in India,” said Charlie Stewart-Cox, general manager (South Asia, Middle East and Africa).

He said India was among the top 10 markets for Cathay Pacific. “It is a solid growing market. In order to provide convenient timings to our travellers, especially the business travellers, we are launching our second direct flight to Hong Kong from Delhi from March 31,” Cox said.

However, the airline has no plan to increase flights to smaller airports or enter into a tie-up with a local carrier.

“For 2014, our plan is to consolidate our position in India. We do not have any plan as such to get into a tie-up with any airline. Also, as of now, we do not plan to increase flights to any new or smaller airports,” Cox said.

Cathay will operate two direct flights daily from Delhi from next month. At present, the airline has one direct flight, while the second one flies via Bangkok. Cox said the airline had adjusted its schedule to help Indian passengers get early onward flights to Australia, the Philippines, South Korea, the US, Japan and China.

The airline also expects more passengers from Punjab to use the adjusted schedule for onward journey to North America and Canada. It currently operates 47 weekly flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad, while Dragonair, its wholly owned subsidiary, flies from Calcutta and Bangalore. Cathay Pacific has 139 aircraft, including Boeing 747, 777s, Airbus 330 and Airbus 340.

Unperturbed by the expansion plans of Singapore and Malaysian carriers, which also carry Indian travellers to the Pacific and American east coast, Cathay Pacific is working on increasing flights to the North Atlantic region and Southeast Asia. It also plans to woo Indian flyers who wish to use Hong Kong as a changeover stop.

The airline has even entered into a pact with Qatar Airways, which will help it to compete with carriers such as Emirates and gain traffic to the European region. The airlines will jointly operate on the Doha-Hong Kong route by the end of this month.

Cathay has also fully restored the long-haul flight frequencies to Los Angeles, Toronto and New York that were cancelled in 2012. It has launched a daily service to Newark this month and will add more flights to Los Angeles and Chicago in its summer schedule.

“We are concentrating on North America-bound traffic from Hong Kong. Though there has been an increase in competition from Gulf-based airlines, we have been doing well,” Cox said.

The airline also introduced a freight service to Mexico in October last year and plans to start another to the US later this month.