Cathay Pacific is one of Hong Kong’s greatest aviation icons if not Hong Kong’s greatest icon. This article explains why the South East Asian Market is so important for the airline, with Bangkok being one of the most important destinations for the airline.
According to Bangkok Post, Cathay Pacific is highly optimistic about the growth of the South East Asian market, with the Thai capital being the most lucrative and one of the most important routes for the airline. The Thai capital is no stranger to tourists as it ranks first in the world’s most visited countries in 2022.
Dominic Perret regional general manager for Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific at Cathay Pacific: speaking to Bangkok Post stated: “We have seen a strong recovery across Southeast Asia. Thailand has been one of the strongest markets to recover”.
Hong Kong reopening
The reopening of borders allowed the airline traffic to balloon. The region is now recovering impressively alongside the upward trend felt globally. In May of this year, recovery stood at 53% compared to pre-covid levels (2019) reported Mr Perret speaking to Bangkok Post.
Routes to and from Hong Kong have shown resilience after the re-opening. Traffic from South East Asia, such as Bangkok, Manila, and Singapore, outperformed other South East Asian destinations. These cities show significance in Cathay Pacific’s route map.
Singapore is one of the world’s most recognized and renowned financial and economic hubs, prompting high-yield traffic between the two destinations.
Manila is also an important market for the Hong Kong-based carrier, as many OFW or Overseas Filipinos Workers reside in Hong Kong, and there are many Filipino diasporas in the states, utilizing Hong Kong as a viable connecting hub from Manila to North America.
Bangkok is the golden market for the airline, mainly being a tourist hub for many Hong Kong residents and North Asians. Bangkok is becoming an economic hub in the region second to Singapore, which is picking up a higher yield than before.
Many Thais love Hong Kong for its culinary and cultural scene, and many Thais travel to Japan and South Korea via Hong Kong.
Not only Bangkok is a lucrative market for Hong Kong dwellers, but for the entire country. Cathay Pacific flies to Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most popular Island at least once daily with its regional wide-body workhorse, the Airbus A330 instead of the A321neo flown last year until the beginning of this year.
The airline flies at least 5 to 6 times to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport often utilising the wider Airbus A350 and the Boeing 777 aircraft. Before the pandemic, the airline flew a fifth freedom route from Hong Kong to Singapore via Bangkok using the A350 aircraft.
To date, the flight is yet to make a comeback. With Bangkok being most frequently served per day, the load factor of flights to Bangkok stood at 90% in May and expects to perform even better until the middle of the year according to Bangkok Post.
Joining hands with the Thai market
To lure even more Thai fliers, the Oneworld carrier partnered with one of Thailand’s largest retail and real estate groups ‘Siam Piwat’ on their loyalty program which allows points conversion between Asia Miles and Siam Piwat’s VIZ coins, which attracts both Hong Kong and the Thai market.
According to Bangkok Post, the airline group forecasts a profit between HK$ 4 billion to HK$4.5 billion in the first half signifying that the airline is somewhat out of the pandemic woods.
Cathay Pacific hopes to bank high on the Thai market in the upcoming high season month and a clearer economic policy from the Thai government after the May general election.
The Thai market is still an important market for the airline in the ASEAN region, alongside Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
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