Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways has not ruled out establishing an LCC unit, although such a move would be very unlikely in the short-term, CEO Rupert Hogg said.

While many other Asian airline groups have set up their own LCC subsidiaries, Cathay has so far elected not to take such a step.

The carrier operates the Cathay Dragon subsidiary, but this is a full-service narrowbody carrier rather than a different business model.

Hogg reiterated previous statements that Cathay has not shut the door completely on the LCC concept.

Cathay is “watching [LCC subsidiary] developments with interest,” Hogg said during the IATA AGM in Sydney last week. “We are not at all blinkered in looking at” different business models, “and we can learn lessons” from other examples. He said the carrier “will make that decision [about new models] if we get to the point where we could execute against it, and [if] we think it is the right one.”

However, such a decision point would be some way in the future. Hogg says starting a new airline “is a moot point because our airport is essentially full.” This means that “even if we wanted to start another airline—with any model—it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do until 2024-2025” when capacity at Hong Kong International Airport is expected to expand.

Adrian Schofield, avweekscho@gmail.com