Cathay Pacific urges intensified efforts to tackle South Africa's energy crisis

A Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350 aeroplane. File

A Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350 aeroplane. File

Published Jan 11, 2024


South Africa must intensify efforts to address the energy crisis, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently, according to Cathay Pacific, the leading carrier of Hong Kong, in an interview with Business Report.

Shanna Docherty, the regional head for Trade Sales for Cathay Pacific in the Middle East and Africa, said load shedding was a pain point experienced across industries in South Africa and had a significant revenue impact on companies of all sizes.

“As an airline, we have to manage the risks posed by load shedding and ensure contingency plans are in place to avoid any disruptions or reduced productivity,” Docherty said.

Talking about the airline’s outlook, Docherty said Cathay aimed to expand its operations in South Africa this year with a daily service.

This after the company’s successful return to South African skies last year after a 3.5-year halt, to its renewed growth and progress in all areas of its business. It resumed flights from Johannesburg to Hong Kong on August 2, 2023.

Although this might be a gradual process, Cathay looked forward to expanding its operations in terms of connecting South Africa, Hong Kong and beyond and other key destinations in the Greater Bay Area.

Docherty said the South African domestic airline market looked significantly altered now since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Some long-established players are no longer flying, but we are also proud to say that new and agile players have entered the market, and domestic leisure and corporate travel has rebounded significantly both domestically and regionally. We are continuously engaging with our domestic partners to expand on our service offerings from key destinations in South Africa and the wider African region,” Docherty said.

Asked about its expectation for the airline sector from Johannesburg to Hong Kong, Cathay said it continued to focus on greater connectivity and rebuilding of connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub by rebuilding its flights as quickly as was feasible for their customers.

“As we further rebuild, we will add more transit traffic via the Hong Kong hub as well. In 2024, we shall continue to work towards fully rebuilding our flights. Additionally, ongoing local initiatives include collaborations with various tourism stakeholders to promote and boost tourism within South Africa and Africa, ensuring that South Africa remains a top choice destination for international visitors.”

Cathay said, “Given the direct access we provide to Hong Kong and further connecting our passengers to important destinations, such as the Greater Bay Area, the Chinese Mainland, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, to name a few, has been very welcomed by South African travellers in the market.”

The airline said it was making substantial investments to enhance its customer experience offering, including new aircraft, new cabin products, new lounges, new dining propositions, new entertainment options, and much more. “As we add more flights, we have reopened all of our global lounges as well.”

Cathay said it was also adding state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient aircraft that enabled it to continue growing its network and connecting our customers with more flights and destinations.

Beyond that, it said it was bringing its customers new culinary delights when they flew with Cathay Pacific.

The company said last year they have launched new partnerships with Hong Kong-based brands including Michelin-starred local restaurant Duddell’s, plant-forward restaurant VEDA, Italian restaurant Pirata, so customers could look forward to more inflight dining collaborations that would be announced soon.

“In 2024, we will be adding more redemption seats and providing new avenues for Cathay members to use their miles. Our enhancements will also enable us to offer more options for foreign travellers to visit South Africa as well.”