Cathay Pacific is to launch a new direct flight from Hong Kong to Seattle on 31Mar, strengthening its services to the Pacific Northwest region of the Americas.
Initially, the service will operate four times weekly on an Airbus A350-900 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays – returning to Hong Kong on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. From 1 July, it will increase to a daily service, spurred by passenger demand.
The return flights arrive in the early morning at Hong Kong, enabling fresh Pacific Northwest produce to get to market in good time and also on to connecting flights – which is of real benefit for the region’s soft fruit growers.
“The big product, of course, is cherries,” says Fred Ruggerio, Vice President Cargo, The Americas. “They move primarily to Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and the Chinese mainland. The season runs from early to mid-June to the middle and end of August, so the increased frequency in flights is good news.”
In previous years, Cathay Pacific increased the frequency of freighters from Portland to cater for the cherry harvest, so the Seattle route will bring some balance, but there are other perishable exports in need of air shipment too.
Fred adds: “Over the rest of the year, the fresh seafood market is very strong – to the same destinations as the cherries. Other than that, Seattle is Boeing’s hometown and it has a large number of shipments to Asia.”
Market sentiment about the new Seattle route has been positive. Fred says: “The early indications are that the market is very excited about the new direct service. We have had a number of enquiries, particularly with the peak perishable season that’s coming up. I think they are also pleased about having a reliable carrier in the market with an extensive network throughout Asia.”
The new Seattle flight schedule (from 31 March 2019)
|Flight no||From||To||Departure/Arrival||Days of operation|
|CX858||HKG||SEA||2355/2100||Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday|
|CX857||SEA||HKG||0105/0525+1||Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday|