Hong Kong based full service airline Cathay Pacific would add more direct flights from Mumbai to Hong Kong starting April. The airline will also introduce its new product line of the premium economy cabin on this route after launching it in Delhi and Chennai last year. Cathay that has India route among the top 10 revenue earners will add three more direct flights from Mumbai to Hong Kong as it withdraws stopover flights from the finance city to Hong Kong via Bangkok. The network carrier said 75% of its passenger carriage is transit passengers mainly to China and the west coast of US. Charlie Stewart – Cox, its newly appointed general manager for South East Asia, Middle East and Africa based out of Mumbai said that in the current downturn India as a market is still robust and is one of the few economies that are growing.
“For Cathay 2013 will be a good year in India as we have increased flights in this market last year by adding eight percent more capacity compared to 2011 and we will continue to seek growth opportunities and add more products in this market, ” Cox said. Cathay is betting big on its premium economy cabin as this new product which Cathay says it is the only airline to offer from the Indian market is slated to push the yields up by 30% for the airline. The product offers separate noiseless cabin for travellers, more leg space and bigger seats with rebooted entertainment system. The premium economy class according to Cathay’s regional sales and marketing manager for South Asia, Rakesh Raikar, will push the aspiring and young Indian travellers to an upgrade from economy to the premium economy cabin. The airline said its front sets are getting filled up to 50%-60% and generally flights are 80% full. Cathay along with its sister airline Dragonair flies 46 weekly flights from six ports in India. It recently added Hyderabad in its network with four weekly flights.