Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
India is amongst the top ten markets for Cathay Pacific Airways group and is an important part of the airline’s overall strategic plans for the future. “We are continuously monitoring market demand and exploring new opportunities. At the same time many factors have to be taken into consideration such as traffic rights, resource planning and arrangement etc,” said Rakesh Raicar, regional sales and marketing manager – South Asia, Cathay Pacific Airways. He revealed that Cathay Pacific has utilised all its traffic rights and is constantly reviewing new routes that can be profitable in the future.
Cathay Pacific recently announced an extra flight service from Kolkata effective October. “Our new products and the Premium Economy cabin have made an appearance on our flights from Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad and will soon be introduced in other routes as well,” he said.
The airline’s passenger loads to and from India have been healthy with an average of 80 per cent. Talking about the airline’s six decades old operations in the country, Raicar reminded that Cathay Pacific first set up office in India in 1952 at Kolkata and started flight operations in 1953 from Hong Kong to Kolkata via Bangkok. In 1976 Cathay Pacific Airways relocated its head office in India to Mumbai. “In 2012, we have increased frequencies between Chennai and Hong Kong from four flights a week to daily. Cathay Pacific Airways commenced its new four-times-weekly service to Hyderabad in December and Dragonair has commenced its new four-times-weekly service to Kolkata in November,” he mentioned.
Pointing out the advantages of Hong Kong as a hub for Indian travellers, Raicar said, “Cathay Pacific Airways in essence is a network carrier offering passengers excellent connections to their onward destinations through our hub in Hong Kong, which is not more than five hours away from half the world’s population. Apart from its geographical location, Hong Kong boasts of the award winning Hong Kong International Airport that has been winning awards since its inception in 1997.”