Monday, September 04, 2017

Cathay Pacific eyeing more tie-ups with Indian carriers

Mumbai: Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, is open to more tie-ups with Indian carriers, Mark Sutch, Regional General Manager for South Asia, West Asia and Africa, told BusinessLine. The airline already has interline agreements — commercial agreements between airlines which ease passenger travel through one to another — with Air India and Jet Airways.

“The Indian aviation market is growing faster than anywhere else in the world,” Sutch said. “We’re making real investments in India and increasing capacity by flying bigger planes since we can’t increase frequency. There are government-to-government bilateral agreements between India and Hong Kong and we’ve reached where we can with that.”

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon currently operate 48 weekly flights from six cities in India to Honk Kong. While being restricted from increasing frequency by these bilateral agreements, Cathay is now choosing to fly bigger planes with more capacity. From October, for instance, it will fly the Boeing 777 aircraft on the Mumbai-Hong Kong route instead of the Airbus A330, which increases seating capacity by 21 per cent and offers significantly more belly capacity for carrying cargo.

“We’re looking for opportunities in interline agreements too,” Sutch added. “Low-cost airlines, at the moment, don’t seem to be keen on it but there are airlines like easyJet in the UK which see the benefits of teaming up with a legacy airline.”

Sutch said India is Cathay’s largest cargo market outside of the US in terms of freighter capacity. It has scheduled freighter services to and from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, mostly carrying electronic devices and telecom equipment inwards from the Chinese market. “Hong Kong-India is not a big trade lane but we try to go beyond that to China, the US and Australia, making multiple stops and trying to maximise efficiency.”
03/09/17 Tanya Thomas/Business Line