Cairns is getting its Hong Kong service back. Kinda. Sorta. A few months ago Cathay Pacific quit its longstanding Cairns – Hong Kong route, leaving the space vacant. It was a move lamented by a lot of Cairns locals but clearly lamentations weren’t translating into tickets because Cathay wasn’t doing enough business on the route.
When news broke earlier this year of Cathay’s exit, Air Nuigini said it would be interested in filling the gap with a replacement service. That raised a few eyebrows. Air Niugini doesn’t have a lot of spare capacity, it had no experience operating a medium haul flight that bypassed its Port Moresby hub, and the airline has a history of making announcements that went nowhere.
It has come to pass that Air Niugini will operate three return flights a week between Cairns and Hong Kong, but they will go via Port Moresby. The airline has done a deal with the Queensland Government and Qantas to carry freight and passengers. Qantas will operate a single freighter service between the two cities. The deal is valid for an initial six months.
AIr Niugin is rather cheekily claiming that they are replacing Cathay Pacific on the route. Well, it’s not going to be quite the same.
Air Niugini says it will be operating their Boeing 767-300s on the Cairns – Hong Kong route. Air Niugini has a pair of 737-300s. The first, P2-PXV is 20 years old and the second, P2-PXW is 28 years old. Air Niugini’s 767-300s seat 188 passengers in two cabins. There are 28 seats in the business class cabin in an interesting 2-1-2 configuration and 160 seats in the main economy class cabin in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Right now the Air Niugini booking engine shows the 767-300s operating the Cairns – Port Moresby – Hong Kong flights but the return flights still show the Fokker 100 operating the Port Moresby – Cairns leg. This could just be the Air Niugini booking engine been slow to catch up with Air Niugini’s announcements. Currently the airline operates 10 return services a week between Cairns and Port Moresby using mostly F100 Fokkers.
It’s also worth highlighting that while the flights to Hong Kong have a painless 90 minute transit in Port Moresby, the return flight has a dawn arrival in Port Moresby and a four hour layover. That’s not so bad if you have access to the Paradise Lounge in Port Moresby but not so good if you don’t.
Below is the Cairns – Port Moresby – Hong Kong – Port Moresby – Cairns timetable effective 31 October 2019:
|Dep Cairns (CNS)||PX93||Thu, Sat, Mon||11:55|
|Arr Port Moresby (POM)||13:20|
|Dep Port Moresby (POM)||PX8||Thu, Sat, Mon||15:00|
|Arr Hong Kong (HKK)||19:35|
|Dep Hong Kong (HKK)||PX9||Thu, Sat, Mon||20:45|
|Arr Port Moresby (POM)||05:30 (+1)|
|Dep Port Moresby (POM)||PX90||Fri, Sun, Tue||09:30|
|Arr Cairns (CNS)||10:55|
Categories: Air Niugini