Cathay Pacific has made a decision to discontinue its fifth-freedom service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
- Hong Kong tourism plummets by 40%, worst downturn since SARS outbreak
- Record setting 25.94 million passengers streamed through YVR Airport in 2018
- YVR Airport’s largest terminal building expansion since 1996 to open next year (PHOTOS)
Aeronautics Online Aviation reports that the daily route using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will cease to exist starting in April 2020, after 23 years of operations. The flight is a Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to JFK service, with a stop at YVR.
Flights leave YVR at 10:05 pm and arrive at JFK the next day at 6:05 am, while return flights depart JFK at 8:35 pm and arrive at 11:45 pm on the same day.
Cathay Pacific’s service on this route first began in 1996, when the airline did not have aircraft that could fly non-stop from Hong Kong to NYC. It only launched its first non-stop flight to NYC in 2004.
According to the report, the service has been a money-losing venture for Cathay Pacific for years due to increased competition from non-stop flights from HKG to NYC.
But the service has consistently been rated as one of North America’s best flight services, with complimentary checked bags and high quality in-flight meals, despite only being a shorter-haul, five-hour flight.
The airline will be increasing its number of non-stop flights to JFK to make up for the lost capacity from the elimination of the fifth-freedom service.
As well, the number of Cathay Pacific non-stop flights from HKG to YVR will be reduced from 17 to 14 weekly flights, with capacity largely retained by utilizing aircraft with more densely configured seats.
The Hong Kong flag carrier has had a turbulent summer to date due to its handling of its employees involved in the Hong Kong protests, resulting in the resignation of its CEO.
Additionally, after only slight impacts in June and July, the airline is now expecting significant financial losses for the month of August, following plummeting tourist numbers into its hub city of Hong Kong.