Cathay Pacific Maintaining New York Capacity

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific

Update: I wanted to correct this post from a few days ago. While Cathay Pacific has indeed updated their schedule to reflect massive capacity cuts to New York this coming winter, the airline has clarified that this isn’t their intention.

Cathay Pacific has reached out to say that they will be maintaining 25 weekly nonstop flights between New York and Hong Kong in the winter 2020 schedule, which is good news. I imagine the additional flights will be added back soon.

While the apparent cuts were drastic, the airline has been cutting capacity significantly, so it seemed that it wasn’t completely out of the question.

Below is the original post in its entirety.

We’ve seen Cathay Pacific tweak their route network and capacity quite a bit in recent months, due to the ongoing impacts of the protests that we’ve seen in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific’s changes to Chicago route

Just a couple of days ago I wrote about how Cathay Pacific is making changes to their Chicago route, as they’ll switch the aircraft they use on the route from a 777-300ER to an A350-1000 as of June 1, 2020.

The biggest implication of that is that the airline will no longer offer first class on the route (the top cabin on Cathay Pacific’s A350s is business class).

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 business class

Well, the airline has just loaded a much more significant schedule change on what used to be their biggest US route.

Cathay Pacific cuts New York capacity

While this is quite a ways out, Cathay Pacific has cut capacity to New York for their upcoming winter schedule, which starts on October 25, 2020.

Up until October 24, 2020, the airline is offering:

Meanwhile according to the schedule, as of October 25, 2020, the airline will offer:

  • 11x weekly flights to New York JFK, including 1x daily flights operated by 777-300ERs with first class, and 4x weekly flights operated by A350-900s
  • Daily flights to Newark, operated by A350-900s

In other words, in late October Cathay Pacific will cut two daily flights between Hong Kong and New York, which is huge.

Not only is that a massive capacity cut in general, but it means that the number of first class seats available to New York is being cut by two thirds, as the airline is going from 18 daily first class seats to six daily first class seats. Or maybe even three quarters, depending on how you look at it, if you want to count the New York to Vancouver flight.


Cathay Pacific 777-300ER first class

I guess it’s safe to say that the route is struggling in the current environment, and perhaps first class demand in particular has decreased. At the same time, the airline has quite a few 777-300ERs with first class, so what markets will they send the planes to where first class is more profitable?

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER

Hopefully we don’t see a long term shift for Cathay Pacific where they move towards eliminating first class.

Bottom line

Cathay Pacific has loaded a noteworthy schedule change for their New York flight, as the airline will be cutting two nonstop daily flights operated by 777s with first class. This means the airline will only offer a total of six first class seats daily to New York.

Of course I think it’s worth noting that this is still far in advance, and it’s possible that the airline still backtracks on this, but in the meantime… wow.

Are you surprised to see Cathay Pacific cut so much capacity to New York?

(Tip of the hat to @terryversay)

  1. probably should just quickly mention the previously cancelled YVR-JFK tag that is ending late March (?), so total seat loss is equivalent to 3 dailies.

  2. As you said, where will they reposition the aircraft to in this move? Also, if Cathay is having some short to mid-term issues with selling first class, likely due to the protests, maybe they should consider reopening last minute award seats to partners again.

  3. They also cut all 777-300ER flights to SFO on certain days (they had 2 daily before). I wonder if/when LAX will see a hit

  4. Here is to the hope that we are all speculating, and that CX’s RM will update the Winter schedule later

  5. I understand they need to minimize aircraft downtime at JFK, but that means that on days when they are only running one flight, the flight from HKG departs at 9:30 am… which makes connections from other Asian cities difficult if not impossible. (I suppose connecting passengers will have to be put on the EWR flight those days.)

  6. My guess is first class will be going away, perhaps sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduced something similar to Malaysian’s “Business Suite” product.

  7. I’ll weep over CX’s cut on redeye flight between HKG-JFK. It’s time effective route that allow you spend full day in both cities. Hope it’ll be back for spring to fall schedule… I greatly benefit from that route over years.

    CX isn’t same airline anymore so they should stop pretend that they deserve premium prices over many Chinese carriers

  8. @DWT do they have red eyes from around Asia like NH does? Maybe they have enough connections to meet the demand?

  9. It irks me a bit to read “…due to the ongoing impacts of the protests that we’ve seen in Hong Kong.” Shouldn’t it say due to the impact of mainland China’s and Hong Kong’s puppet government’s attempt to dismantle freedoms in Hong Kong? These protests are not some endogenous phenomenon. They’re the result of an external threat to a people’s way of life.

    If Cathay Pacific wanted their loads and yields up again, the solution would be for the HK government to not allow frightening extradition treaties. That’s the root cause here.

  10. First, I’m with @Jeff

    I was just pricing my award ticket – JFK-HKG for July 10 at $20,364 This could be an issue for CX 😉
    That said, Glad I’m doing my CX flights sooner than later.
    Let’s hope Qatar keeps the A380 PER-DOH-FRA mid-July 🙂

  11. So far on all my flts in Cathay first cl between the U.S. and HKG, I’ve yet to meet a single passenger that paid for their ticket with cash. All were award tickets or airline crew, including Cathay pilots. As much as I love Cathay first they should eliminate it. It is an absolute money loser on almost all of their routes. Even Cathay’s bus cl is overpriced compared to competitors on a number of routes. I flew HKG to SIN recently. Cathay was the highest bus cl fare on that route, even higher than Singapore Airlines.

  12. Ugh. This is bad news. Then again since they made it much more difficult to book F awards close in I’m not sure how much of a loss it will be to me. Still more options are better than less no matter what. Thanks for the update.

  13. @Jeff and @Bill in DC

    Do you fly SQ?
    Singaporean have stricter law than mainland china, no democracy no freedom of the press no freedom of speech and no freedom of public assembly heavy censorship from government, single party ruler and humiliate the CIA many times. But guessed what, america worship them because they’re small enough and don’t have the consumer and production power as big as china. Hypocrites…
    One big difference is that singapore was ruled by one and only Lee Kuan Yew and never by brits after independence.
    Singapore have better airline and airport than hong kong, UK, USA and pretty much rest of the free world.
    Hongkies better be smart and stop the stupid violent demonstration and anarchy.

  14. The bigger question is where will the additional 3 lots be going??

    I’m sure Delta is eager to snag them.

    Or could it even provide opportunity For United to re enter the JFK market which they are eager to do.

  15. @jkjkjk – hey good to hear about how great China is! When I’m there next month I look forward to chatting to chinese locals… perhaps we can discuss social credits, how those uighurs camps are going, creating holiday islands in the south China sea and tank joyrides in tiananmen. Don’t worry, I’ll post trip updates for you while there on Facebook.

  16. @Jeff : Frightening Extradition Treaties?? Are you living under the rock? The Extradition Treaty has been withdrawn since early September 2019 and yet the Hong Kong rioters and terrorists continue to break the rule of law by burning someone alive, throwing bricks to kill an innocent janitor, damaging properties, setting fire to properties/barricades, attacking passengers and the police force with petrol bombs or molotav cocktail, denying other people’s freedom of using the subway stations, group shaming & assaulting anyone who have a difference views etc…. This is something Internal!! Hongkongers only have themselves to blame for causing massive chaos and destructions!!

    @jkjkjk : Couldn’t agree more with you! I prefer the peaceful and thriving Singapore to the chaotic and self-righteous Hong Kong any time of the day.

  17. Speaking to an economist friend who specializes in geopolitical economy and who is also a well respected researcher. His view is that we have seen the peak of HK’s short history (1843-2020) of economic evolution.

    All of its natural resources come from China and approximately 70% of capital markets are companies with Mainland China ties. The perception of HK is still an international finance center of the past is sadly no longer the case.

    The Swire Group, the majority owner of CX, is also slow in reacting to market change, and the speculation is that it is a matter when not if that Air China will eventually (Longer time horizon) will take over CX. No financiers or another airlines will be interested to buy CX because the growth is not there and its economy is facing uncertainty.

    While we focus on the cutting of F seats and frequencies of the HK-NY routes, there are capacity and routes been cut by CX and other airlines as well. The impact has been significant!

  18. @Hutch – Welcome to China and South China Sea so that we can debunk to you the myths of uighurs camps, social credits and the riots of Tiananmen Squre back in 1989. FB is outdated but don’t worry you can still use our Weibo, which is much interesting and safer than FB, because unlike FB of helping terrorists organizers to stage several terrorist attacks in Xinjiang in China in 2009, Weibo won’t support those activities…

  19. If you guys could just focus on the article related contents… I have enough readings on HK ongoing messes.

  20. I’ve been eyeing 3 JFK-HKG-DPS seats for next November (so far snagged two thru Asia miles) and I thought CX hadn’t loaded 2 of the 5 NYC-HKG flights. But you’re saying this is permanent for the winter schedule?

    I know airlines could be cutting capacity but I figured they’d do it in a more measured way — cut some frequencies from 7x weekly to 5x weekly, but not remove 2 whole flights altogether. After all, protests or not I think CX still makes a lot of money from cargo, hence the 5x daily flight from NYC area.

  21. There isn’t much demand for first class but yet they don’t ever want to open those empty seat for redemption, flee jfk-hkg last summer and the first class cabin had one person. Whatever works for you Cathay.

  22. “… if Cathay is having some short to mid-term issues with selling first class, likely due to the protests, maybe they should consider reopening last minute award seats to partners again.”

    What a terribly uneconomical use of first class capacity. Better to do what Cathay is doing, i.e., cutting first class cabins, rather than running them for staff, awards, and upgrades.

    If you can’t sell F between JFK and HKG, there’s something seriously, seriously wrong. And, at the moment, there obviously is.

  23. @Peter – I appreciate the response, but isn’t it better to open award seats to partners within a couple weeks of departure rather than have them go out empty for zero revenue? If Cathay is flying a plane with first class, why not make money on the seats rather than have the cabin fly empty? If Cathay flies planes without first class, I’ll be saddened, since I think theirs is the best, but empty seats make Cathay considerably less money than partner award seats.

  24. The 50 cent army of mainlanders just invaded OMAT.
    Scott jkjkjk well done comrades. Chairman Winnie the Pooh is proud of you.

  25. @BigG: ROFLMAO! Stop the labelling game. You do that because you don’t have any cogent and sensible arguments to subtantiate your point if you’ve any. LOLLLL.

  26. lol @Scott thinks “uighurs camps, social credits and the riots of Tiananmen Squre back in 1989” are a myth and that “Weibo, which is much interesting and safer than FB”

    these idiots really do live in an alternate universe

  27. @keitherson: ROFLMFAO! The pot is calling the kettle black. You’re the real moron and brainwashed fool by following your fake news group and your deep state propaganda too closely. Time to wake up dude…hahaha.

  28. I can’t say I’m surprised by this given almost every blogger review of CX F to the US I’ve seen recently seems to start with ‘we were the only people in the cabin’ or ‘it was a light load in F’. It’s hardly profitable to operate a cabin on the basis that the only passengers are people redeeming miles that were given away by US credit cards (and to make matters worse most of these passengers will never actually buy a cash ticket on CX, either).

  29. I’m sorry, but can’t we try to keep OMAAT a site about flying and traveling and try to avoid turning the comments section of each and every post to political ”fighting”? I love this site and love the comments as well (unlike most sites and blogs where the comments seldom if ever add value). Would be great if we could keep it on topic and keep political discussions to other forums..?

  30. They have cut back on releasing award space because as Lucky correctly pointed out, Mileage Brokers (people who buy miles and sell cheap premium tickets) have hurt their business.

    They’d rather fly out empty seats and preserve the integrity of the product. BA has a policy that almost ALL staff are prohibited from traveling in F. Only senior people on duty travel and managers who qualify (after 5 years of service) for an annual bookable ticket (confirmed F seat).

    So what they do is if you are on standby for J and it’s full- they’ll op up a Gold card or Emerald cardholder to F and put the non-rev in the J seat.

  31. Seems to be something bigger here. Regardless of the HKG politics, the cut is excessive a year out.

    Politics 1 year from now is impossible to predict… Anything, good or bad, can happen.

    I don’t know if this is typical of airlines to announce changes for ahead and if so, what’s the accuracy of the schedule announcement 1 year out among all airlines? That is critical data.

    Assuming it’s rare, then something else is afoot. As someone else said, either 777 are being returned and this is merely waiting for more 350 deliveries, or they know something that’s not yet public.

    Could you imagine BA slashing JFK-LHR capacity like that??

    My only other guess, is they grew NY too much and we’re taking losses all along.

    I’ll definitely miss their F product. Been flying them for 10 years and it was a joy and treat or timeless elegance, service and comfort; even though crew have seemed less happy lately though still exceptional!

    Maybe a surprise 77x announcement?One can dream…

  32. Hong Kong will be a test case for “freedom or bread” very soon. lol, if it’s economy collapses, what will political calculation be for CCP, US, Taiwan? Fascinating stuff.

  33. @Scott, didn’t your troll training teach you that subtlety will convince more people of your views than verifiable mendacity.
    Lucky, the TRAVEL update was great.

  34. According to the points guy first class will no longer be offered to SFO as the only remaining B77W frequency (cx872-873) is going to be operated by an A359 so the red-eyes will both be operated exclusively by a359’s while the daytime frequency alternatea between a35k and a359. It’s much better experience in economy and it’s ironic that two years ago all three flights were operated by 77w’s.

  35. @ M — So that there’s context for the story? Would you like me to delete the old story, or what would you have liked to see?

  36. Don’t bash Ben. All news outlets reported this, including local :

    Reflects poorly on CX knowing that news travels at the speed of light and they should have clarified within hours, not day.

    It was shocking they would cut NY like that, and I even posted disbelief and that there HAD to be more to the story; it wasn’t ominous though, just incomplete info.

  37. @Terry: ROFLMFAO!! Your parents obviously didn’t teach you that you’re living in a world of never ending lies, fake news & toxic propaganda…Calling someone a troll when you’ve no sensible and cogent arguments to make just make you cheap & pathetic!! Who is responsible for 12 millions deaths in Iraq and 100s of thousands more in Afghanistan? Who used the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan ? Who is arming the Saudis to bomb the innocent people in Yemen, I’ll leave out the Palestine issue, so let’s not talk about who is doing what here. LOLLLLLLLL.

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