Cathay Pacific boosts flights to Thailand

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways and its budget subsidiary Hong Kong Express are boosting flights to three major tourist destinations in Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.

Cathay’s Hong Kong – Bangkok route will be increased from twice to four times per day next month, according to Chairman of Cathay Pacific Patrick Healy.

In January, the airline will resume its Hong Kong – Chiang Mai service, said Healy.

Hong Kong Express, Cathay’s budget offshoot airline, will operate 22 flights per week to Thailand to Bangkok, Phuket, and will also resume its Chiang Mai service in December.

Healy said the improved connectivity will play a role in Hong Kong’s goal to seek closer ties with other countries in the region…

“It’s our job to connect Hong Kong to the world and to connect the world to Hong Kong. And that’s why we’re busy ramping up capacity just as fast as we can.”

The boost in flight frequencies follows an internal announcement from Cathay’s CEO Augustus Tang Kin-wing who told employees to expect a 3.3% salary increase and a one-off extra month’s salary.

As all of the world’s airlines did, Hong Kong’s flag carrier faced grave losses when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. In the first half of 2022, Cathay reported a loss of US$636.8 million, which is comparably much better than the airline’s losses in the same period last year, which were 33.9% higher.

The airline hopes to return to 70% of pre-pandemic capacity before the end of 2023.

The chairman said the airline is committed to turning Hong Kong into a “global aviation hub” with Cathay Pacific at the centre.

To really make progress, the airline would like to see the end of Covid restrictions in mainland China, added Healy.

In 2020, the company lost 8,400 employees after axing regional airline Cathay Dragon. Now, Cathay Pacific is concentrating on winning back old staff and recruiting new cabin crew and pilots.

In June, Cathay Pacific planted 999 mangrove trees in central Thailand as part of its “1 Ticket, 1 Tree” initiative. The airline committed to planting one tree for every airline ticket bought in a one-month period.

By planting trees, Cathay hopes to combat at least some of the carbon the airline emits into the atmosphere with its fleet of 174 aircraft.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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