After 23 years in the air, an unusual North American flight service by Cathay Pacific Airways is coming to an end.
Cathay Pacific has announced the termination of its daily Vancouver-New York flight, which has become the victim of lower consumer demand and declining revenues. It will end in April 2020, with a final specific date yet to be announced.
The flight has operated as the cross-continental leg in a route to Hong Kong from New York via Vancouver. But it has become a popular way to experience travel between YVR and JFK on a carrier known for offering more upscale treatment in the sky than is typical of North American airlines. With its unusual “fifth freedom” rights, it has become a saleable and bookable way to travel between the two cities, without necessarily flying onward to Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific will reassign the flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft currently on the route to fly non-stop between Hong Kong and New York (JFK) four times per week. This will bring the total number of non-stop flights on the New York (JFK) route to 25 flights per week, up from the current 21. This is in addition to a daily non-stop EWR-HKG service, also on an A350-900.
Meanwhile, the frequency on the Hong Kong-Vancouver service will be adjusted to twice daily. While this is a reduction from the current 17 flights per week, the aircraft assigned to the route will be switched to a Boeing 777-300ER, which has a higher passenger capacity. The capacity on the YVR-HKG service will thus remain essentially unchanged, says CX.
“We consider it to be the best domestic flight in the Americas,” said Philippe Lacamp (pictured), senior VP, Americas for Cathay Pacific Airways, referring to the Vancouver-New York route. “It has almost a cult following, especially by passengers in the front cabin [business class], who regard it as a sort of corporate jet service.”
Lacamp says the flight has also served as an introduction to the elevated international service levels offered by Cathay Pacific for passengers who wanted to travel within North America, without having to fly on to Hong Kong.
“We are sad to see it go, but it has become increasingly difficult to support this flight in today’s tough competitive environment,” said Lacamp.