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Cathay Pacific sets out measures to help passengers affected by London flight disruption

20 Dec 2010

Cathay Pacific Airways today appeals to passengers to postpone or cancel non-essential travel between London and Hong Kong as the weather conditions and subsequent capacity constraints at London Heathrow airport are likely to continue to impact flight operations over the next few days.

The severe weather conditions experienced in London and the closure of the London Heathrow airport have forced the cancellation of eight flights from London and six flights from Hong Kong to London between the 18 December and 12 noon today, adversely affecting more than 4,500 passengers. Given the fluid operational situation at London Heathrow and the prospect of more snow and of freezing temperatures it will inevitably take time to clear the backlog of stranded passengers.

To ensure stranded passengers can board flights as soon as possible, we have stopped connecting passengers from other ports to London via Hong Kong.

To assist those who decide to cancel or postpone their trip the airline will refund the ticket or waive all rebooking charges and re-issuance fees for Cathay Pacific tickets that were issued worldwide on or before 18 December 2010 for travel involving London between 18 and 24 December 2010. Please check details on www.cathaypacific.com.

According to our current assessment in the light of the capacity constraints at London Heathrow, it is extremely unlikely that we would be able to add any extra flights to London within the next 48 hours. Should conditions permit, it is always our intention to take the stranded passengers back to Hong Kong as soon as practicable.

As and when capacity becomes available then priority in boarding flights from London to Hong Kong would be given to unaccompanied minors (i.e. children under the age of 12), young students and passengers with special needs.

To facilitate delivery of assistance to them and to help ensure they can board our flights as soon as possible once operation at the airport permits, a special email address has been set up on top of our regular passenger communications channels to collect their phone contact details. The email address is: uk_student@cathaypacific.com.

A separate email communication channel has been set up for stranded Hong Kong residents who are non-UK citizens. The email address is: uk_irgs@cathaypacific.com. Both e-mails addresses will become operational from 8 am today UK time, and we will try our best to respond as soon as possible but we also appeal to your patience and understanding.

A special hotline has been set up for concerned parents of unaccompanied minors and young students from London to Hong Kong to provide us with the passenger flight and contact details. The hotline number 2747-8999 will open today from 6 pm until 11 pm HK time.

Cathay Pacific staff on duty at London Heathrow are trying their best to attend to passengers’ needs, especially those of the unaccompanied minors, young students and those with special needs during the disruption, including arranging food and providing the latest flight information. But because of the very congested situation at the airport some individual passengers may not be able to receive all the assistance they need, and we do apologise to them and are grateful for their understanding and patience. We are issuing latest information to passengers and the public as it becomes available.

In Hong Kong, we have arranged hotel accommodation for some 700 affected passengers and our airport staff are making sure that they are being well looked after.

Passengers who do not have confirmed bookings are strongly advised NOT to go to the airport. Customers are advised to check the status of their flight at the airline’s website, www.cathaypacific.com, before departing for the airport as the status may change.

Customers are also advised to input their contact details in the Manage My Booking function at the website to ensure they get the latest flight information via SMS or email.