The coming summer could see unusual traffic patterns for Cathay Pacific‘s traffic to and from the United States. In a regulatory filing with the US Department of Transportation the carrier suggests it may operate flights via Taipei, as well as a Vancouver option, to move travelers between the US and Hong Kong in the coming summer.
The Vancouver routing to JFK Airport in New York City is not entirely new, though the proposed approach is very different from before. In the past the carrier operated the flight on a schedule that allowed passengers to easily fly on same-plane service via Vancouver or to take either leg individually. The proposed times on the new schedule see the aircraft sit for 12-20 hours.
That is not a schedule conducive to carrying passengers via Vancouver for the full trip. It may, however, work better for crew timings to operate the flights on that schedule.
It is also worth noting that the carrier applied to operate via Vancouver during part of the 2022 summer. That never materialized as filed. And there are no guarantees this one does, either. One significant difference is that Cathay appears keen to carry local traffic between Vancouver and New York with the proposed timings.
The Taipei option is listed for traffic from both Boston and JFK, though it very much appears to be an option, not a certainty. The filing indicates that some “US-HK passenger services might make technical stops at TPE airport without 5th freedom traffic carriage.”
Three of the four planned NYC trips offer the TPE tech stop option in the filed plans. The Boston service also might stop in TPE on the return to Hong Kong.
In each case, the additional tech stop also dramatically changes the departure time from the US, though the arrival times in Hong Kong are close to the same. From Boston, for example, the nonstop return would depart at 1:45am and arrive in Hong Kong at 5am the following morning. With the Taiwan stop, however, the flight would depart at 7:05pm, arriving in Hong Kong at 3:50am two days later, including the hour gas-and-go in TPE.
Ultimately this means an aircraft would be on the ground in Boston for nearly 21 hours rather than just over three. Similar timings are seen in the proposed JFK trips. That would dramatically and adversely impact the aircraft utilization and the number of planes required to operate each service.
The TPE routing is approximately 200 miles shorter than flying nonstop to HKG. That’s not much, and Cathay Pacific has resumed using Russian airspace after a brief hiatus, so it is not clear why the tech stop would be favorable to the airline. But the option exists in the filing.
Cathay also proposes to operate 3x daily to San Francisco, 3x or 4x daily to Los Angeles, and 1x daily to Chicago-O’Hare during the summer season.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.