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Business Insight

Cathay Pacific, Singapore Air need to look beyond their planes

New relations with customers crucial for recovery of Asia's premium carriers

Cathay Pacific’s passenger traffic has been growing steadily, but the returns on its flight operations have been falling faster.

For decades, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways set the global gold standard in service quality and customer satisfaction. In the process, shareholders of Asia's leading premium carriers were handsomely rewarded. Singapore Airlines was the second-highest valued airline globally as recently as 2011.

But something has changed. On Dec. 4, Cathay was dropped from Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index. Singapore Airlines' market capitalization is now barely a third that of European budget carrier Ryanair.

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