Cathay Pacific has announced the long-awaited news that it will resume flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong in August.
The carrier pulled all its flights from South Africa around November 2020 when COVID started to bite deep. It said at the time it intended to restore the services in March 2021. Now, after more than two years of absence, Cathay Pacific is to return to South African skies.
In June 2022 CX said it had begun restoring flights across the globe, and it hoped to have restored 25% of flights by the end of 2022.
Three non-stop weekly flights will run between South Africa and Hong Kong with the commencement of operations on August 2, 2023. The service has always been popular in South Africa, not only for convenient and direct access to Hong Kong, but for its connections across the carrier’s Asian network that includes the Chinese Mainland, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.
On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, CX748 will depart Johannesburg at 11h20 and arrive Hong Kong at 06h00 the following day.
CX749 departs Hong Kong at 00h40 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving Johannesburg at 07h35.
The flights will be on an Airbus A350-900, configured in a three cabin-class layout with 280 seats, comprising 38 in business class, 28 in premium economy and 214 in economy class. The airline promises that each cabin class on the A350-900 provides a whole new experience for passengers, with extra-wide cabins including new seats, an innovative inflight entertainment system and inflight connectivity, plus added comfort, convenience and entertainment features.
The business-class and premium economy-class seats are designed by Studio FA Porsche (known for its expertise in seat ergonomics, functionality and comfort).
The December opening of the border between Hong Kong and China galvanised the airline into action and the subsequent January announcement of the immediate opening up of China to the world has propelled the airline forward and accelerated the pace of resumption of flights.
Anand Yedery, Regional Head of Marketing and Sales, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, said: “With the removal of travel restrictions into Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, and with our connections to popular Asian destinations, we can aid customers to fulfil all their travels plans – whether it is to reunite with their loved ones or take that much-awaited holiday or for business.”
“I am very encouraged to see a trend of continuous improvement in our operations and financial performance for our airlines and subsidiaries in the second half of 2022,” said Ronald Lam, the carrier’s CEO, while reviewing December 2022 results.
“Looking ahead into 2023, we are very excited to be firmly on the path to rebuilding Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong international aviation hub. Nevertheless, challenges still remain and we are taking a measured and responsible approach to our rebuilding efforts,” said Lam. “We remain fully committed to restoring connectivity and capacity at our home hub. As a Group, which includes passenger airlines Cathay Pacific and HK Express, we anticipate we will be operating about 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023 with the aim of returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.
“Following the return of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, we are continuing to add more flights and more destinations as quickly as is feasible. We aim to operate more than 100 return flights per week to and from 14 cities in the Chinese Mainland by the end of February,” said Lam.
With the opening of the border between Hong Kong and China in December 2022, Cathay Pacific saw an increase of 768,7% in passengers compared with December 2021, according to Travel News Asia.