Five months ago Cathay Pacific launched direct flights from Copenhagen to Hong Kong. It now looks as though the route lacked profitability, which the Hong Kong flag carrier calling time on flights. This will likely come as a bit of an embarrassment to Cathay, who will have undoubtedly done significant research on the profitability of the route prior to commencing flights. The news also comes at a time when Cathay Pacific is concerned about losing market share to rivals Hong Kong Airlines, and the Chinese bullet train.
The link from Copenhagen was supposed to be a seasonal route for Cathay Pacific, operating between May and October. While the plan was always to end the route in October, it had been envisioned that it would resume in May, this now doesn’t appear to be the case any longer. The flight is currently being operated until the end of the month using a three-class A350. Featuring Business, Premium, and Economy, the flight was operating on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Cathay Pacific’s outbound flight from Hong Kong to Copenhagen was departing at 0110 as CX227. Operating as an overnight flight, the aircraft arrives in Copenhagen at 0630, just in time for breakfast before meetings. For the Copenhagen to Hong Kong sector, the aircraft also travels overnight. CX226 departs Copenhagen in the evening at 1355, arriving in Hong Kong the next morning at 0635.
Growing competition on the Copenhagen to Hong Kong could be another factor influencing the decision to scrap the route. Following 20 years of not serving the route, SAS is poised to launch Copenhagen to Hong Kong flights. The Scandinavian carrier is clearly launching the flights to aquire Cathay Pacific’s market share, as the launch of the route coincides with the ceasation of Cathay’s operations.
The SAS route isn’t entirely new though. In fact, the airline is moving the origin of its Hong Kong flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It could be that Scandinavia to Hong Kong isn’t an in demand route, as commenting on the move, SAS said it was facing “challenges when it comes to profitability on the Stockholm-Hong Kong route”. SAS will operate the route from Copenhagen to Hong Kong 5 times a week from Wednesday to Sunday, while the return flights will run from Friday to Tuesday.
Cathay Pacific was also competing with a number of other airlines delivering passengers to South East Asia. Passengers can fly non stop to destinations such as Shanghai and Singapore. This is in addition to other flights to Hong Kong changing at hubs such as Dubai. With so much happening in the market, it seems like Cathay Pacific is focusing on boosting its profitable routes, and cutting this one.