Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Tag: hkg

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.

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.

Hong Kong to get 3 new 787 Dreamliner routes.

In the past week, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines have announced the deployment of Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s on their routes to Hong Kong. Starting from summer of 2016, JAL replace the current 767-300ER’s currently operating the Sapporo (CTS) to HKG with 787-8’s. Subsequently, in September, ANA will replace the 777-200ER’s on their Tokyo Haneda (HND) to HKG with 787-9’s. Finally, Qatar Airways will replace the Airbus A330-200’s on their Doha (DOH) to HKG route with 787-8’s in October. This is good news for HKG spotters, as we will be able to see 787 Dreamliner’s from three additional carriers. Currently, the only 787’s flying into HKG on a regular basis belong to Scoot, Air India, Kenyan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Royal Jordanian.

How do I choose the right spotting location?

With most airports (usually unofficially) offering at least half a dozen different locations for spotting, it’s hard to choose which one to go to. Unless you want to spend valuable spotting moving around between locations, it’s advised that you visit no more than two locations in a day. At least for most of us, it takes long enough already just to get to the airport. To then move between locations is, at least in my opinion, a waste of time. But if something out of our control happens that makes the location unusable, for example rain, change of active runways, or change of lighting, then of course we have to make an exception.

Spotting Location 3 – Terminal 2 SkyDeck

The “SkyDeck” in terminal 2 of HKIA is the only “designated” viewing location at HKG, meaning that it’s probably where the airport authority would prefer that we spot from (especially considering you need to pay to get in). However, that doesn’t mean that you can or should only spot here, as the airport authority can’t and won’t stop you from spotting elsewhere. That being said, this is where I always go when the 25 runways are in use, as it’s perfect for 25R arrivals and very convenient. You don’t need to mess around switching between the Tung Chung line and various buses to get there, as SkyDeck is located in the main passenger terminal, meaning  you can easily take the Airport Express or a taxi to and from. There are also restaurants, bathrooms, and even a movie theater, whereas most of the other locations are in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

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