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Cathay Launches Its New Longest Nonstop Route, Between Hong Kong and Washington

Dec. 13, 2017
3 min read
Cathay Launches Its New Longest Nonstop Route, Between Hong Kong and Washington
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Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific is expanding its presence on the East Coast of the US. As reported by the South China Morning Post, Cathay is expected to launch a new nonstop route between Hong Kong (HKG) and Washington, DC (IAD). Sources familiar with the matter confirmed to the Post that the carrier is expected to make a formal announcement next week.

With the launch of the IAD-HKG route, which is expected to commence in 2018, Washington, DC, will now have its only nonstop option to Hong Kong. The 17-hour flight will be operated by one of the carrier's A350 aircraft.

IAD-HKG will also be Cathay Pacific's longest nonstop route. Previously, Cathay's longest flight was its nonstop between New York (JFK) and HKG, coming in at around 8,072 miles. However, this new IAD nonstop is just more than 80 miles longer, coming in at 8,154 miles in total. Cathay also flies nonstop from HKG to San Francisco (SFO), Vancouver (YVR), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS) and New York (EWR and JFK).

More fuel efficient aircraft, such as the A350 that Cathay will use on the route, make ultra long-haul routes like this potentially more profitable for airlines. Currently, Cathay serves the US mostly with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with more capacity than the A350 but higher fuel burn.

Ultra-long-hauls from Asia to the US are not new. Singapore Airlines used to fly the world's longest nonstop from Singapore to Newark with the A340-500, but ended the route because of the four-engined jet's relatively low fuel efficiency. But now, twinjets like the A350 mean that these extremely long flights can make money rather than be just prestige routes.

And it's not just Airbus offering fuel-efficient aircraft — Qantas is launching the world's longest route between London (LHR) and Perth (PER), a whopping 9,010 miles, in March 2018, with the Boeing 787-9.

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Cathay’s A350 has three cabins: business, premium economy and economy. The business-class cabin offers 38 lie-flat suites that have 45 inches of pitch and are 20 inches wide arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. The premium economy cabin is comprised of 28 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. Each seat has 40 inches of pitch and is 20 inches wide. The economy cabin has 214 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Each seat has 32 inches of pitch and is 18 inches wide.

With the addition of this IAD-HKG route, DC now has several nonstop routes to Asia. Options include nonstop from DC to Tokyo (NRT), operated by ANA and United; Seoul (ICN), operated by Korean Air; Beijing (PEK), operated by Air China and United; or Hong Kong (HKG), operated by Cathay Pacific.

*Correction: This story was amended to reflect the fact that Cathay's previous longest route was not between Dallas and Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific does not fly to Dallas.

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