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.
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.
Finnair A350 OH-LWC
Spotting the Cathay and Finnair A350’s full post
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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.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 launch delayed full post
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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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As you may know, Cathay Pacific’s regional subsidiary Dragonair will be re-branded as Cathay Dragon to strengthen the corporate identity of Cathay and improve brand recognition. Together with the announcement of the re-branding, Dragonair also revealed its future livery under the name Cathay Dragon.
Cathay Dragon’s livery revealed full post
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Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific is set to rebrand their subsidiary Dragonair as Cathay Dragon as part of its recent corporate identity campaign, in which we saw the launch of their new livery. The move would increase the amount of association between the two airlines and improve recognition of the Dragonair brand outside of China, where it conducts most of its operations. The move will not be a complete merger, and the two airlines will continue to have separate fleets, crew, routes, and operating certificates. There were rumours circulating a while back that there would be a complete merger of the two airliners someday, however I personally dismissed this rumour as a merger is highly unlikely. Cathay definitely wants to keep its status as a premium airline with an all wide-body fleet serving only major international routes such as competitors Emirates and Singapore Airlines. A merger with Dragonair and the subsequent acquisition of narrow-bodies and domestic routes would ruin Cathay’s status by turning it into a standard airline like Lufthansa, and make them lose out in their competition with EK and SQ.
One of Cathay Pacific Cargo’s 747-400ERF’s, B-LIA, rolled out of HAECO’s Xiamen plant in the new Cathay livery after completing its D-check. The new livery was introduced on the 1st of November 2015 with one of Cathay’s 777-300ER’s, registration B-KPM. After completing its D-check in Xiamen, B-LIA returned to Hong Kong on the 20th of January 2016. The aircraft was delivered to Cathay Pacific Cargo new in mid-2008, and has an age of around 8 years. It is powered by four Pratt & Whitney PW4062A turbofan engines. The 747 version of the livery did have any significant features that wasn’t seen on B-KPM, however the winglets of B-LIA were painted in the same “Cathay green” as the tail, whereas B-KPM and other 777’s don’t have winglets. All of Cathay’s A350’s on order will be delivered in the new livery, and it is expected that Cathay will progressively repaint their current aircraft with the new livery as they undergo their D-checks. It will likely be years before the entire Cathay fleet is able to transition into the new livery, as aircraft are usually repainted only during their D-checks, which happen around once every 6 years. Sadly, there’s a 99.9% chance that Cathay’s passenger 747-400’s won’t be painted in the new livery, as they are no more than a few years away from retirement. It is also likely that Cathay’s older aircraft such as their 777-200’s, A340-300’s, and early A330-300’s will be retired before their next D-check and won’t see the new livery either. I’m desperately hoping that they’ll hang onto their A343’s for a little longer so we’ll get to see them in the new livery. Only time will tell.
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