Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international air cargo carrier in 2010, overtaking Korean Airlines (Bloomberg, 27-Jan-2011). Hong Kong International Airport was the largest freight airport last year, driven by surging exports from China, ahead of FedEx hub, Memphis International Airport, which has been the world’s busiest cargo airport since at least 1992.
Cathay overtakes Korean as largest cargo carrier as Hong Kong Airport passes Memphis
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Delta-Korean Air joint venture creates trans-Pacific's second largest bloc. Cathay, EVA under threat
The unprecedented aviation market growth between Asia and North America is forcing airlines to re-evaluate their core strategy and reassess who is a competitor and who could be a partner. It seems probable that Delta Air Lines and Korean Air will form a joint venture, potentially making them the second largest trans-Pacific bloc.
The next two largest airlines without a deep partnership, EVA Air and Cathay Pacific, are having to confront significant change, without the support of partners. Delta-Korean Air brings United-ANA its closest rival yet, while the American-JAL JV – already smaller – needs bulking up.
Korean Air brings Delta a wider network in Asia than ANA or JAL offer to their respective JV partners, United and American. A Korean Air-Delta JV could result in more destinations and flights being added once they are able to sell jointly.
Cathay Pacific ends 747 flights, its future defined not by 777s/A350s but by diversifying
For 37 years the Boeing 747 brought Cathay Pacific to the world. As it did for so many operators, the 747 transformed Cathay into a global airline. Cathay's final passenger 747 flight was on 01-Oct-2016. The occasion is filled with sentiment and the usual remarks of being the end of an era; the aircraft of course is iconic, and Cathay, which turned 70 in Sep-2016, has known the 747 for longer than it has not.
Yet the 747 era at Cathay ended long ago. The 747 gave Cathay a global footprint, but this is true for most current and former 747 operators. Cathay's position today against competitors is defined not by network reach but rather – depth. Mainland Chinese airlines, some of Cathay's closest competitors, know they have the local market and lower costs but acknowledge the one-stop challenge Cathay brings with hyperfrequency and a stronger product/brand.
That depth and domination, especially in the key North American market, was achieved with the 777-300ER. Cathay operates 53 777-300ERs – more than twice the 24 747-400s the airline had at its peak. Although A350s are arriving, Cathay's next evolution is defined not by aircraft and flying but rather by bringing new non-flying businesses into the group. For aviation this is seen as a partial surrender to competition. For the company it is a graduation to consistent and higher profits. As with the 747, it is time to move on and pursue a more productive future.