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Cathay Pacific Group reports single-digit first-quarter growth

Hong-Kong based carrier Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) has reported a single-digit percentage growth from inflight sales in the first quarter of 2013 and is optimistic for the year ahead. The figure takes into account the onboard retail performance of its CX Group subsidiary Dragon Air. Inflight concessionaire Inflight Sales Group (ISG) recently secured a new four-year contract to continue running the duty-free shopping on both airlines.

According to CX, 25–30% of products are duty-free exclusive and 15% exclusive to CX. A Cathay Pacific spokesperson told DFNIonline: “The best-selling categories are skincare, cosmetics, watches and electronics and gadgets. The popularity of each category depends on the different routes.”

The airline’s pre-order service is a key part of its overall retail business. “We regularly offer pre-flight promotions and encourage passengers to pre-order exclusive products online and receive bonus Asia Miles. We also offer Asia Miles as part of our pre-order service, which gives flexibility to our frequent travellers,” the spokesperson added.

“We have put a lot of emphasis on promoting our online service through our CX.com website, e-newsletters and social media platforms such as Facebook. We understand many of our passengers use our online service for purposes such as checking in or changing meal preferences, so offering a pre-order service at the same time and having goods delivered to their seats is convenient for our passengers.”

Uptake of the airline’s home-delivery service is also increasing. The spokesperson said: “Demand for the service is rapidly growing. We have now extended it to five other destinations in mainland China as well as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. In addition to the products we offer in the air, we also have our Beyond Duty-Free products, including popular and innovative items such as Chanel vintage jewellery, fine wines, lifestyle items and high-end audio products.”

The inflight catalogue plays a key role in driving sales on board. “We have seen from passenger surveys that the inflight magazine is the primary purchasing trigger. We put a lot of effort, together with our publisher, on making the magazine attractive and an effective tool for selling inflight.”

CX is also exploring a number of other revenue streams, indicated the spokesperson. “We are focusing on our current channels, such as shortening the lead-time of the pre-flight order service and offering more member functions such as inflight mileage redemption.”

Reflecting on its long-standing collaboration with ISG, the spokesperson said: “With ISG’s extensive experience, we are confident that our collaboration provides a refreshing and enjoyable shopping experience and exclusive products which our passengers can choose from.”