‘It isn’t part of our business model and it is not how we operate’
Cathay Pacific Airways has “no interest” at this point to pick up a stake in any Indian airline, even as it grapples with a slump in long-haul travel demand.
However, with an 80 per cent passenger load factor in its services to India, Cathay is looking towards the country as a top destination.
“While it’s a great idea, there is no interest for us at this point. It isn’t in our business model and it is not how we operate,” said Tom Wright, General Manager, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific, while addressing reporters at the launch of the airline’s new business class and premium economy cabins on the Chennai-Hong Kong route from January 1.
“But we are looking to expand in India and I am personally convinced that we will fly to more destinations in India. At this point we have run out of traffic rights, and we would have to wait until there are reciprocal arrangements,” he added.
Talking about the recent proposals to raise airport charges, Mr. Wright expressed concern over the “very high” charges and asked the Government to reduce it.
“It seems almost contradictory. You want India to become a hub for the aviation sector, but the charges are very high. Hong Kong is much cheaper than India, it is very expensive to operate here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the airline will ensure that passenger traffic on its India network is not disturbed, as it gears up to resolve a labour issue in Hong Kong that has sparked up just as the end-year travel rush has rolled around.
“While we are hopeful that it will be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction, there is a contingency plan in place,” said Mr. Wright.