Cathay Pacific welcomes ‘healthy competition’

RATHER than worry about the number of international carriers flying in and out of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the management of Cathay Pacific Airways welcomes the competition.

“Any airline needs to be able to deal with competition. It is good for the customer. It allows them to choose their cost point. We are never afraid of healthy competition as long as we are on an equal playing field,” said Philippines manager Rob Bradshaw.

Instead of fretting about losing market share, he said they work hard to innovate and provide passengers with the kind of service they expect.

He cited the new A350 aircraft, which is made of stronger materials and has stronger cabin pressure, improving the flight experience. He explained that having strong cabin pressure increases humidity, which makes food taste better and reduces jet lag.

They’ve also introduced dine-on-demand for business class passengers, access to PressReader and more club points for Marco Polo Club members. They will also be introducing WiFi connectivity on long-haul flights.

Bradshaw also pointed out that they have invested in their airport lounges and that many travelers choose to book with them because of this.

Bradshaw is unfazed about the growth of budget carriers, saying they have managed to offer competitive rates while maintaining certain levels of standards that their clients have become accustomed to.

Operating out of the MCIA for 25 years, the Hong Kong-based carrier also has a loyal customer base in Cebu and Bradshaw said building that relationship has allowed them to keep up with the competition.

Customer loyalty

Bradshaw noted that they have become “integral to most Cebuanos’ travel internationally.” Cathay Pacific flies to Hong Kong 10 times weekly, but adds two more flights during peak season. They are studying the possibility of offering double daily flights to Hong Kong.

North American destinations are the top destinations Cebuanos connect to, with Los Angels, New York, San Francisco and Vancouver as among the most popular. Cebuano travelers are also enjoying connections to Tel Aviv, Madrid, Barcelona, London and Paris.

“Cebu is an important part of our network. Many of our passengers love to come to Cebu and travel to other parts of the Visayas,” he explained.

The airline is set to launch non-stop services to Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen in the summer. He added that with new routes this year, they expect even more Cebuanos to travel via Cathay Pacific.

“When traveling, people don’t want to have too many connections. Very few options give that convenience. Now, you can fly directly to these places,” Bradshaw added. (MEA)
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