On September the 27th, Typhoon Megi struck Taiwan and caused most flights in and out of Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Songshan (TSA) airports to be cancelled. Taiwanese EVA Air, on the other hand, decided to brave the storm. On that day, EVA Air had 45 flights scheduled to land at Taipei, 30 of which were able to successfully land (including those that diverted and refuelled before carrying on to Taipei the same day). Winds were reported to be at around 30 knots gusting to 41, with a maximum of 50 knots gusting to more than 70. While there are no real headwind limits for landing, typical crosswind limits are around 35 knots. Passengers on board the EVA Air flights experienced really bad turbulence, with some of the reportedly having used their phones to type their wills. Not sure if this is true or just a really big hyperbole, but it goes to show how bad it must’ve been and also how scared people generally are of flying.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and the passing of something old is always complemented by the arrival of something new. With the retirement of Cathay’s passenger 747-400’s comes the launch of their A350’s. While I do not think this is a fair trade-off, at least 2016 won’t be a year of only sadness as Cathay retires their 744’s and 343’s. Cathay’s first A350, a -900 variant, will be delivered late April 2016. I believe the original date was set for February, however the delivery was delayed due to issues with the seat manufacturing. As is common whenever an airline takes delivery of a new aircraft type, Cathay plans to operate their first few A350’s on short-haul intra-Asia flights for crew familiarization before setting them off to fly the long-haul routes to Europe and the Middle East that they were meant for. The first Cathay A350 revenue flight is set for May 1st 2016 and will be the morning flight CX900 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Manila (MNL). The aircraft will return to Hong Kong around noon as CX901 and later in the day fly to Taipei (TPE) and back as CX400/401. CX900/901 to MNL is a daily flight and CX400/401 to TPE will be operated 5-6 times a week. Afterwards, from July 1st 2016, the A350 will be deployed on several flights to and from Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, and weekly flights to Singapore will begin to be operated by the A350 two days later. Cathay will continue flying the A359 on this routes until it is ready for deployment on long-haul routes. The exact flight schedule is shown below (taken from AHKGAP.net).