Cathay Pacific will end its New York-Vancouver flights next spring
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Cathay Pacific will end its nonstop service between Vancouver and New York JFK, ending a “fifth-freedom” route that it has operated since 1996.
The route that included the Vancouver (YVR) stop was once Cathay Pacific’s only option for service between New York and its main base in Hong Kong (HKG). That changed in 2004 when Cathay Pacific added regular nonstop service between cities. Despite that, the fifth- freedom tag between Vancouver (YVR) and JFK remained.
Now, however, Cathay Pacific says the YVR-JFK portion will end March 27. Cathay Pacific hadn’t previously announced a firm date, saying previously that it would end in “April.”
“Frankly this tag operation has been losing money for a number of years,” Philippe Lacamp, Cathay Pacific’s senior vice president for the Americas, said in a phone interview with TPG.
He acknowledged that the fifth-freedom service had cultivated a unique following, especially among frequent-flyers and travel aficionados who could fly Cathay Pacific without leaving North America. For those travelers, it was a chance to fly a transcontinental route between Canada and the U.S. on a Hong Kong carrier that’s routinely regarded as one of the world’s best.
“It’s not bittersweet, it’s bitter,” Lacamp responded when asked if it was tough to pull down the niche flight.
“You’ve got your cult following. But it’s true for us as well,” he continued. “It’s our little secret. We’re very sorry to see it go. Having said that, I can’t argue with it. I’ve seen the numbers.”
While Cathay Pacific says the route has been a money-loser, the decision to close it also comes as it has added numerous nonstop flights between its Hong Kong hub and both of New York City’s long-haul airports. Currently, the airline flies three daily round-trip flights between JFK and Hong Kong and one between Newark and Hong Kong.
Once the tag from Vancouver ends, Lacamp said Cathay Pacific will boost its JFK service further, adding four additional flights a week that will be operated by the airline’s new Airbus A350-900s. That will give it a total of 25 flights a week between Hong Kong and JFK.
“We think that’s going to strengthen the offering for us in that key market,” Lacamp said.
When asked about whether the ongoing protests in Hong Kong played a role in the decision, he acknowledged that’s “a natural reaction for people” but said the two are unrelated.
“It’s not about the ongoing issues in Hong Kong, or we wouldn’t be increasing the frequency to JFK if we were actually retrenching,” he said.
From Vancouver, Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong schedule will drop to twice-daily service — down from the 17 flights a week that the airline currently flies. Despite that, Lacamp said capacity would largely remain the same because Cathay Pacific will upgauge its service there to its higher-density 777-300s that can seat up to 340 passengers across three classes.
“The actual overall capacity remains very close to what it is today, in terms of total number of seats,” Lacamp said.
This post has been updated to include the end-date of the route, which was not disclosed by Cathay Pacific at the time of the initial post.
Featured image by JT Genter / The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees