Qantas gift keeps giving, Cathay Pacific adds London flights
The Qantas effect continues to benefit competitors, as it retreats and they advance.
The Qantas response to the Asian century of isolating more of Australia from its world continues to benefit better run high quality carriers, with Cathay Pacific adding a fifth daily rotation between Hong Kong and London with an ‘inferior, outmoded’ Boeing 777-300ER from 27 June.
Whether a kangaroo traveller wants a short stop in Asia, or a prompt connection, the additional service provides Qantas customers who don’t want to be punted onto Emirates flights or through Dubai with additional alternatives while still being able to earn Qantas points.
This is the key part of the CX statement:
Cathay Pacific Airways today announced a fifth daily return flight between its Hong Kong hub and London Heathrow, scheduled to debut on 27 June 2013. The additional flight further demonstrates Cathay Pacific’s commitment to serve key long-haul markets around the globe with multiple frequencies offering maximum customer choice.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar said: “We are offering our customers the best of all worlds. First, products that are second to none including our new long-haul Business Class, winner of the Skytrax Best Business Class in the world award. Second, people and service that have earned us recognition as a five-star airline. And third, the choice to travel when it is convenient with multiple frequencies throughout the day.”
In addition to the 35 frequencies a week to London the new flight brings, Cathay Pacific offers 25 flights a week to New York City and 17 to Los Angeles. Both routes are planned to gain additional frequencies in 2013. Even in medium-haul markets such as Sydney and Melbourne, Cathay Pacific offers 28 and 21 flights a week, respectively.
Mr. Slosar added: “Whether getting passengers to their destinations on a nonstop flight or connections via our convenient, world renowned hub in Hong Kong, we are working to expand the network in a way that brings additional flight options to our customers. It is just another way we are giving passengers more reasons to choose Cathay Pacific.”
Pity about the Skytrax reference. CX doesn’t need that.
It is clear that Singapore and Hong Kong will mount strong competition for those who fall out with the Qantas-Emirates combination, with both cities offering a wide range of differing experiences and business opportunities if a journey is broken, as does Dubai.
Three more different cities could hardly be imagined. However the tension in the Qantas-Emirates arrangement that will soon be market tested comes from being taken for granted, as well as the inferior amenity of business and economy class in EK 777s when compared to the outstanding quality the same carrier offers in its A380s. Whatever people may feel about Cathay Pacific’s product, and its exceedingly disappointing old business class, the new product in its 777-300ERs and the A330s that operate between Australia and Hong Kong has been met with strong approval from those in my circle of frequently flown travellers.
With the best will in the world, the Qantas strategy of cutting back on routes and thus markets, both inbound and outbound, means it is standing still and getting run over in a growing market by very well run competitors.
It is fanciful to claim, as Qantas does, that once it makes long haul Qantas viable, it will actually invest in re-expanding the brand, and that people will automatically come back. There is nothing automatic about brand loyalty. Screw it, and it screws you back.