Cathay Pacific Addresses Air Traffic Delays Due To Airspace Congestion


Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club has sent out an email today addressing the ever increasing delays out of Hong Kong Airport and Mainland China destinations.

CX B777 copyThe long delays have left many passengers frustrated as often they exceed the flying time by far like on routes such as Hong Kong to Taipei.

Cathay Pacific must have gotten tons of complaints in the recent past that they felt compelled to draft this email which reached members today.

You can access a web version of the Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Email here.

Air Traffic Congestion is an ongoing challenge

With the increasingly rapid growth of flights across Asia, we are seeing an escalation of traffic flow management issues throughout the region, as well as a rise in air traffic congestion in our Hong Kong hub. The situation has been particularly challenging this summer. Also as China’s aviation industry takes off, many airlines flying into and out of mainland China are seeing delays. This has a knock-on effect on flights to non-mainland destinations because of aircraft and flight crew deployment, especially at times of bad weather. Although this situation is beyond our control, we fully understand how frustrating these delays are to our frequent travellers.

We are doing everything possible to reduce the inconvenience

A number of proactive measures are currently being taken to help overcome the operational challenges, and minimise inconvenience to our affected members. These include consolidating flights and upgrading aircraft where possible to help reduce waiting times in the short term.

An action plan for improvement in the longer term

We are working closely with all concerned parties, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) to ensure the long-term stability of flight operations in mainland China and across the region.

Our action plan calls for the implementation of change by mainland authorities to address the immediate issues, as well as for Hong Kong authorities to enhance all efficiencies within their power.


Cathay wanted to tell members that they heard their complaints and are aware of the situation. The course of action they announced is nothing substantial even though there isn’t much Cathay as an airline can do. The congestion is there and likely not going away unless the Chinese regulators take action such as opening additional airspace (a large part of China’s airspace is still reserved for the military). I have a feeling that Hong Kong has reached it’s capacity as a mega airport by now which obviously hurts home carrier Cathay Pacific’s on-time performance the most.