BY JAMES WILKINSON
Cathay Pacific has confirmed plans to introduce Premium Economy across its long haul fleet, a product that has been flagged for Australian services.
The Hong Kong-based airline will be one of very few Asian airlines to offer premium economy, a product that has seen success for a number of European and Australasian airlines including oneworld partners British Airways and Qantas.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar said new product would be “a real upgrade over economy”.
“The seat will be more like a regional business class seat,” he said. “We’ll have great recline and plenty of leg space.
“But it’s not just the seat, we’ll have an improved service as well. The meal service will be improved and little extras will leave anyone who chooses Cathay Pacific’s premium economy feeling they really got value for their money,” he said.
Solar said Premium Economy would be introduced on Cathay’s medium- and long-haul routes, including services to Australia and the cabin will be progressively introduced from the second quarter of 2012.
“We’ll be doing all this quite quickly, although it will still take most of 2012 before it is on most of our aircraft,” he said.
Meanwhile Cathay Pacific has announced the introduction of non-stop services from Adelaide to Hong Kong from November 24 on three of the airline’s seven flights a week from the South Australian capital which are currently running via Melbourne.
“Cathay Pacific has been flying to Adelaide since 1992 and in this time we have grown to seven flights a week and seen growth in demand from travellers across the business, leisure and student markets particularly to and from China,” said Cathay Pacific’s General Manager – South-west Pacific, Dane Cheng.
“We believe the non-stop and same-day connections will also prove popular in bringing tourists into South Australia over our summer,” he said.
The flights will be operated by two-class Airbus A330 aircraft and will operate until 24 March 2012 when the flights return to operating via the Victorian capital.
South Australian Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, John Rau, welcomed the move.
“Non-stop flights are always good for tourism in South Australia and I commend Cathay Pacific for this vote of confidence in our State,” he said. “International visitor statistics from 2010 showed a significant increase in visitors from China in particular – up more than 20 per cent from the previous year – and I’m sure this initiative will only bolster this growing market.
During the summer period, Cathay Pacific will be the only airline operating direct flights Adelaide to Hong Kong.