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Cathay Pacific Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Russia

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A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300

Cathay Pacific Flight CX250 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong was forced to make an emergency landing in Novosibirsk, Russia after the crew received warning of a fire in the aft cargo hold 6 hours into the flight. The aircraft was a Boeing 777-300ER, registration unknown. The crew made a safe landing at Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport with 214 passengers and 18 crew on board. The flight took off from London at 6:02pm local time (GMT) and landed in Novosibirsk at 7:20am local time (GMT+7). There was no fire detected in the cargo compartment after landing. The passengers of the flight were accommodated in hotels for the night and a replacement aircraft has been dispatched to shuttle them to Hong Kong.

Why Airlines are Cramming More Seats onto Airplanes

In the past month or two, Cathay Pacific and British Airways both announced plans to shift from a 9-abreast to a 10-abreast Economy class seating layout on their Boeing 777 fleet. Essentially this means that there will now be 10 seats per row in Economy class and opposed to 9, which allows the airline to cram more passengers into the same aircraft than before. Cathay Pacific and British Airways will be joining Emirates, China Airlines, Air France, American Airlines, and Air Canada among others, all of which operate 10-abreast seating configurations on the 777. This leaves competitor Singapore Airlines as one of the last airlines operating a 9-abreast configuration.

Update: Cathay 747 Farewell Flyover

It’s 8:30am, and here I am at Victoria’s Peak waiting for the Cathay Pacific 747-400 Farewell Flyover. Even though I got here two hours in advance, the place is already jam-packed with spectators. I managed to find a nice spot on the rock, and now the waiting begins. The total value of all the camera gear people have brought here today? Beyond me. I’ll have pictures from today uploaded as soon as possible.

10 Abreast Seating Confirmed for Cathay Pacific 777

After a good amount of speculation, Cathay Pacific has finally revealed plans to switch to a 10 abreast economy class seating on its long-haul 777 fleet. This means that the cabin will be changed to a 3-4-3 instead of the current 9 abreast 3-3-3 configuration. While this means that aircraft will have more seats and can carry more passengers, it also equates to decreased passenger comfort as there will be less space for each passenger. As a result of the new configuration, seat width decrease from 18.5 inches to 17 inches while total capacity of the aircraft will increase by up to 35 seats. Seat pitch, which is the distance between two front-and-back rows of seats, will not change with the new configuration.

Dragonair Business Class A330 Review HKG-PEK

Dragonair is a lesser known carrier that is the regional sister airline of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Using an all-Airbus fleet of A330-300’s, A321’s, and A320’s, it flies from Hong Kong to various destinations in Asia. This week I was able to sample the Dragonair business class offering on a flight to beijing, so I decided it would be nice to share my experience.

CXcitement 1:200 Boeing 747-400 Model Unboxing

Yesterday I welcomed the newest addition to my 1:200 model airliner collection, which as of right now only consists of 2 aircraft (so realistically it can’t quite count as a collection). It is the CXcitement (not sure how to pronounce this? excitement? see-ecks-citement? Cathay-citement?) 1:200 Boeing 747-400  in Cathay Pacific Asia’s World City special livery (link to product page). I bought it for exactly 600HKD (or 77USD) at the big toy store near the check-in areas of Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. As you can tell from the name, this 747-400 model is the official Cathay Pacific branded version, which they sell on their online store for the exact same price. While I wished for a 1:200 747-400 model in the standard Cathay livery, they are no longer produced and the only one I could find on sale was a second-hand version going for around 1380HKD (link to it here in case you’re interested). Not really worth it if you ask me.

cxcitement 747-400 model front of box

Front of box

Spotting the Cathay and Finnair A350’s

As someone that goes planespotting a lot (as in so often that I feel like my hearing is worsening), I often get bored of having to watch the exact same flights come in and out the airport every time. Though HKG is a really big and busy airport, the flight schedules are pretty much the same each day and things can get real bland real fast. That’s why I get pretty excited about special liveries or non-typical aircraft movements, in this case the arrival of the Cathay and Finnair A350’s.

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Finnair A350 OH-LWC

Cathay Pacific A350 delivery set for May 29

After more than three months of delays due to issues with seat manufacturing, Cathay Pacific’s first Airbus A350-900 twinjet airliner is set to be delivered on Sunday, the 29th of May 2016. 

The aircraft completed its maiden flight and tests last month and was scheduled to perform its first passenger flight on May 1st after after it was realized that the original February deadline (that was set last year) could not be made. 

The delivery date has already been postponed twice (see my post “Cathay Pacific A350 delayed again”) but it is guaranteed that no more delays will occur as the aircraft has already been prepared for delivery.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 launch delayed

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Airbus A350 XWB – Photo by jmiguel rodriguez CC 2.0

Recently, to the disappointment of the Hong Kong spotting community, it was announced that the delivery of Cathay Pacific’s first Airbus A350 XWB would once again be delayed. Their first A350 (c/n 029) of the 46 that they have on order successfully completed its maiden flight at Airbus’ testing facility in April with test registration F-WZFX and is still waiting to be fitted with seats before it will be delivered to Cathay as B-LRA.

Both delays are due to issues with the manufacture of Cathay’s long-haul business class seats that will be installed on the aircraft. The majority of the blame lies on French manufacturer Zodiac Seats, who have been severely behind-schedule in their production and have been receiving plenty of (justified) criticism from Airbus and Boeing for delaying deliveries. Cathay Pacific is also guilty of making last-minute adjustments to the design of their business class seats that have complicated matters and slowed production.

Last flight of Cathay’s passenger 747 scheduled

After operating several variants of the 747 on passenger flights for more than three decades, Cathay has tentatively scheduled a last revenue flight for the type. The flight will be CX543 from Tokyo Haneda (HND) back to Hong Kong (HKG) and will take place on the 1st of October 2016. The flight is scheduled to depart HND at 10:45 JST (9:45 HKT) and arrive at HKG around 15:05HKT. The HKG-HND-HKG route is currently operated by Cathay’s two remaining passenger 744’s, which have been retired from long-haul service. It is unknown if Cathay will ever operate the 747-8 on passenger flights, however it sadly seems very unlikely as Boeing has been slowing down 747-8 production in the past year due to low demand. While I may find some comfort in knowing that Cathay will still fly freighter 747’s for years to come, it’s truly saddening to see the retirement of my favorite aircraft.

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