Cathay Pacific Expected To Add Nonstop Flights To Cape Town

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific

Despite their financial struggles, 2018 will be a big year of expansion for Cathay Pacific. Just a few weeks ago Cathay Pacific announced that they’d be adding 4x weekly nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Washington Dulles as of September 2018. This is Cathay Pacific’s first scheduled Airbus A350-1000 route (though I’m sure there will be others before then).

It looks like Cathay Pacific will shortly be announcing another cool new route. Danny Lee at the South China Morning Post reports that Cathay Pacific will shortly be announcing a new nonstop flight to Cape Town, South Africa.

The service will be year-round and operate nonstop from Hong Kong, launching before the end of the year. While it hasn’t been announced, I would guess that Cathay Pacific will use an A350 for the route, featuring business class, premium economy, and economy.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class

While no official announcement has been made, Danny has always been spot on with rumors based on these “sources” — he also called the Washington Dulles flight just days before it was announced by Cathay Pacific.

If this route comes to fruition, it will be the first nonstop flight between Cape Town and Asia in over six years. It’s interesting to me that not a single Chinese airline offers nonstop flights to Cape Town, especially given the “one route, one Chinese airline” policy, which has historically caused Chinese airlines to start routes prematurely.

Presently Singapore Airlines flies to Cape Town 4x weekly using an A350, though only as a tag flight from Johannesburg. Meanwhile Cathay Pacific also flies nonstop to Johannesburg on a daily basis, though the new service to Cape Town will be operated separately.

This new flight would cover a distance of ~7,350 miles, so we’d be looking at a flight time of 13-15 hours depending on the direction and winds.

Obviously this route will be useful for those in Asia looking to travel to Cape Town, though it could even potentially be useful for those based in the US. Alaska Mileage Plan partners with Cathay Pacific, and they have some generous routing rules. They let you fly from the US to Africa one-way on Cathay Pacific for just 62,500 miles in business class or 70,000 miles in first class (there’s no first class on the Hong Kong to Africa flight, though paying 7,500 miles to upgrade to first class between the US and Hong Kong is quite a deal).

With Mileage Plan you can also do stopovers on one-way awards, so you could fly New York to Hong Kong in first class, then have a stopover, and then fly from Hong Kong to Cape Town in business class, for just 70,000 miles one-way. That would be an incredible deal.

What do you make of Cathay Pacific’s new rumored Hong Kong to Cape Town route?

  1. Thanks for this great news Ben. CPT has been my 2nd favorite city on the planet after SYD, and was planning to revisit later this year after a 2 year absence. Was considering the SQ flight so as to try their A350, I’ve already enjoyed CX, but this possibility using AS it’s impossible to good to ignore. So I am ‘echt dankbar’

  2. As soon as I saw the title of this article, I thought of that routing!! That is incredible!! Hopefully, I/we will be able to utilize it.

  3. 1. Hong Kong is not subject to mainland China one route, one airline policy
    2. Cathay Pacific is not a “Chinese” airline

  4. From what I understand, CPT is going to run out of water in April, that is completely out of water! Anyone going there should check out this situation before booking a flight.

  5. Hope they could expand the route to São Paulo. We got a shortage of flights down here to south China. And there is a considerable flow of Brazilians to CPT.

  6. @Jim
    I don’t think you understood what that meant. Lucky mean Chinese carriers like Air China, China Southern etc. I won’t bother commenting on your 2nd sentence.

  7. I can see one day Cathay severing their relationship with Alaska. It isn’t sustainable or beneficial for Cathay.

  8. @Harley, I don’t think Lucky is suggesting that, he is simply saying no Chinese mainland airline is currently flying PEK/PVG/CAN to CPT

  9. 2nd A350-1000 rotation will be Tel Aviv, shortly after IAD launches.
    To free up a frame or two for the CPT rotation, it is rumored that CHC seasonal service will be discontinued.

  10. We did SEA-SFO-HKG-JNB in F on AS miles, and onward on a purchased SA ticket to WND, before CX retired the 744. We skipped CPT on that trip because we didn’t have enough time. Would love to go that way again, maybe combined with another carrier for a RTW.

  11. Will this routing work for someone lives in west coast? Do we have to book separate segment like LAX – JFK to start this trip? 280k miles for RT first class for two… definitely in my bucket list. Thank you for great post 🙂

  12. @ Stvr — No, sometimes they have access to one less first class seat and sometimes not all business class space, but they absolutely don’t block all (or even most) Cathay Pacific awards.

  13. Chinese carriers are NOT subject to one carrier one route rule except on US routes. For example, both China Eastern and Air China operate PVG-CDG and PVG-SYD.

  14. @ Min — That’s not true. There are a few exceptions globally (like the ones you mention), but there are plenty of non-US routes that are subjected to the rule as well.

  15. Wish this had happened years ago. Fly to CPT every year and use Cathay to JNB but have to find a way to CPT. Used ROVOS RAIL this year (wonderful train experience) but that’s in the bucket list realm. Otherwise use Comair (BA) or SAA.

    Last year we returned direct from CPT on Qatar during the electronics ban – BAD NEWS. This year flying *A with SAA EVA and AC. But have to fly through JNB where baggage is always invaded though to date only damage to locks and nothing of any value inside so no theft. But replacing the bags is always a problem especially the golf club carrier (broken open in JNB outbound the year).

    The water shortage is real! Advisory to date is to restrict personal usage to 87 L per day (22 Gal?). Their outdated toilets use 6L per flush. Current motto: if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. Will actually take this motto home with me as we live in a water sensitive area in Canada and I have not replaced the water consuming toilets yet.

    Nobody needs two showers a day!

    Wish the Cathay flight was starting now. But maybe next year if the water situation improves. They are building a de-salination plant in CPT but it will not be on-stream for a while. The golf courses still water during the heat of the day so there is definitely room for serious improvement. The government could save almost 50% of water usage if they offered an incentive to replace all 6L toilets with 1.6L toilets!

    A glorious place to visit and with the new route so much more accessible using AS rewards.

  16. this is great news, as getting to CPT from LAX is sooo long and arduous. I was looking at routing through Doha with Qatar, but Cathay might be a great option too. Just hope theres water.

  17. This is great news for CPT…and me, as a resident of the Western Cape, in George on the Garden Route (basically second biggest city after Cape Town in the province), it will make it easier for me to travel to Australia to visit family, used CX before as JNB-HKG-SYD/BNE/CNS vv…but have to get domestic flight GRJ-JNB…now can drive to CPT or take the short GRJ-CPT flight to connect to this.

    Regarding the water situation, I don’t think it should be deterrent for airlines that want to start new flights, situation can improve in short time…I believe airlines would stop flights or not start planned flights if they notice lack of passengers driven by any reason, including the water situation. It is true, it is a big problem and issue, but lots of plans in place…if it happens, there will be some economic and tourism slumps, but seen as temporary…in the meantime George is standing ready to stand in for many economic activities and tourism increase to keep the province going…as it’s probably the only place with sufficient water resources.
    Other airlines have also recently launched new routes to CPT (Eurowing from Cologne, Thomas Cook from Manchester) and Austrian is also launching Vienna-CPT in October’18

    Someone asked about the nonstop flights to Asia 6 years ago…basically SQ operated 3 weekly nonstop CPT-SIN on a seasonal basis for 2 or 3 seasons, but reverted back to 1-stop via JNB year-round 4 weekly, now on A350-900…increasing to daily from April.

  18. Didn´t realize CX was in such dire straights financially.

    Praying they don´t cut my BCN-HKG flight! It´s a godsend for a city with such few Asian carriers/flights.

  19. Data point: Still no award availability on CX795 for partners nor CX themselves. They also haven’t actually sold a single seat on that first flight yet, going off the EF seat map (no changes since the announcement in January).

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