Hong Kong to London is a pretty business-heavy market for airlines, and is one of the busiest international route by passenger traffic. Over the years, it’s become somewhat of a “shuttle” route for Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific. The airline recently completed the renovation of the Business and First Class Lounge at Heathrow, after several delays.
Cathay Pacific’s Renovated Lounge in London Heathrow (LHR). Source: Cathay Pacific
The airline currently operates 5 daily flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and London-Heathrow (LHR), and four weekly flights between Hong Kong and London-Gatwick (LGW).
Interestingly, this is also one of the few key business routes that is served almost exclusively by oneworld airlines. For example, New York/Newark – London is highly competitive, with airlines from all three major alliances participating. London – Dubai has flights operated by non-allianced airlines like Emirates and Royal Brunei. Meanwhile, other than a daily flight from Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Cathay Pacific are the only players in this non-stop market.
And it looks like Cathay Pacific is further expanding their service to London. The airline launched flights between Hong Kong and London-Gatwick in September, operating the flight four times a klyk using the brand new Airbus A350. But effective June 1, 2017, they will operate Hong Kong – London-Gatwick on a daily schedule. Together with the Heathrow routes, this means Cathay Pacific will have six daily flights from Hong Kong to London.
Alongside the bump in frequency to London-Gatwick, Cathay Pacific is also adding an additional weekly flight between Hong Kong and Manchester (MAN). Additionally, they will be replacing all flights on that route with the Airbus A350. This will likely spare some of the 777-300ER in Cathay’s fleet currently used on that route, which makes me wonder if Cathay Pacific has any new destinations planned to utilize those aircraft.
Cathay Pacific currently has a monopoly on the Hong Kong – Gatwick (LGW) route, but British Airways does has a huge operation out of Gatwick, so passengers will be able to connect to other destinations in Europe with oneworld. Gatwick is definitely further away from central London in terms of absolute distance, but I know people who prefer to transit or arrive in Gatwick just because it’s decidedly less busy and hectic. Some also consider Gatwick to be better connected by train, so depending on where you need to be, it could be the better choice of airport.