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Cathay Pacific May Leave oneworld, Be Acquired By Air China

by Staff

Cathay Pacific May Leave oneworld, Be Acquired By Air China

Air China, which currently owns 30% of Cathay Pacific, is considering taking control of the Hong Kong-based airline. The Chinese flag carrier and Star Alliance member could cause a realignment of global airline alliances, moving Cathay from oneworld (American Airlines, British Airways) over to Star (United, Air Canada).

  • There’s been speculation for some time about Cathay Pacific jumping to Star Alliance and being replaced by China Southern which is part-owned by both American Airlines and Qatar Airways. (Qatar owns a 10% stake in Cathay Pacific as well.)
  • Talks on the status of China Southern were delayed by the pandemic, and American wrote down the value of its investment by a quarter even before that.


Cathay Pacific First Class

Historically, Cathay Pacific was both a top quality airline and a fantastic source of award availability for oneworld frequent flyers. Their top Wing and Pier lounges in Hong Kong also both admit oneworld emerald frequent flyers to their first class sections. A move to Star Alliance would not similarly welcome Star Alliance Gold members.


The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong

In recent times award space on Cathay Pacific has been very difficult to get, as the airline has ramped service back up gradually. It has also been heavily focused on connecting traffic between Hong Kong and China.

And Hong Kong, of course, has suffered as a destination not just due to pandemic restrictions but civil liberties restrictions as well following mainland China’s national security crackdown in 2019 and abrogation of its commitment to rule of law for Hong Kong contained in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Tell me you can watch this without tearing up.

“Do You hear the people sing,” by the way, is banned in China.

It was at the same time that mainland China began its crackdown on Hong Kong – damaging its role as a world financial center – that it forced out the CEO of Cathay Pacific. There had been recent talk of deeper ties between Cathay Pacific and American Airlines but American and Cathey face limits even on codesharing due to ongoing restrictions on Russian overflight stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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