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Cathay Pacific community flight fulfils flying dreams of 200 people from less-advantaged families

27 Jan 2013

Cathay Pacific Airways today operated a special flight that took more than 200 residents from some 80 less-advantaged single-parent families into the skies over Hong Kong for an unforgettable flying experience. The participants ranged in age from four to 68 and came from families that had never taken a flight together before.

The guest of honour at today’s special community activity was The Honourable C Y Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Host for the occasion was Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar.

Cathay Pacific places a special focus on youth in the various community programmes it runs in Hong Kong. The airline believes that young people are the future of Hong Kong, and that it is essential to contribute to all aspects of the personal development of today’s youth. This includes promoting harmonious family lives and helping to build positive values among young people and within society as a whole.

The community flight, which lasted for around 90 minutes, not only provided participants with a memorable experience, but also gave family members the opportunity to spend some quality time together and strengthen their family bonds.

Mr Slosar said: “We are honoured to have the opportunity to share the magic of flying with so many first-time fliers today. This is an opportunity for us to come together as a community, united in the desire to enhance life here in Hong Kong. As a father I know how the demands of everyday life can make it difficult for families to cherish time together. We hope the families on our flight today will enjoy some quality time as part of a very memorable experience.

“I would like to thank the Hong Kong SAR Government and the supporting organisations, all of whom offered great support in helping to fulfil these families’ dreams. And a special thank you to our guest of honour, Mr C Y Leung, who made time to join today’s event.”

The Cathay Pacific Community Flight is the airline’s latest contribution to its home city. As an integral part of Hong Kong life, Cathay Pacific always strives to respond to the specific needs of the local community, adding value to Hong Kong and doing everything it can to make it a great place for all.

The support given by the Transport and Housing Bureau, Civil Aviation Department, Immigration Department, Airport Authority Hong Kong, the Aviation Security Company Limited and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service has been instrumental in the success of the community flight.

The airline worked with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and five non-governmental organizations - Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, International Social Service Hong Kong Branch, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, Hong Kong Single Parents Association and Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service – to select participants for the community flight. Residents were selected from districts that have a comparatively higher ratio of low-income families including Tung Chung, Sham Shui Po, Yuen Long, Kwai Tsing and Kwun Tong.

The 90-minute flight took them over the South China Sea and gave everyone the opportunity to catch sight of the stunning bird’s eye view of Hong Kong. The participants – many of whom don’t have much opportunity to leave the district where they live, let alone take a flight - were excited about being able to visit the airport and enjoy the chance to enjoy the meal time with their families 25,000 feet above the ground.

Passengers were served food and drinks by Cathay Pacific cabin crew and had the chance to try out the state-of-the-art seats and inflight entertainment system on the aircraft. Joining the participants were about 50 members of the CX Volunteers, the airline’s corporate volunteering team, who helped to take care of the special guests.

One of the participating families, Ms Lau and her daughter Ms Wu, were going on board an aircraft for the first time. “I’ve been looking forward to this flight for a long time and I can’t wait to tell my friends about the experience. The most unforgettable moment was when the cabin crew served my inflight meal,” said 10-year-old Ms Wu. Her mother, Ms Lau, said: “We’re most grateful to Cathay Pacific for giving us the memorable opportunity to fly together.”

Eight-year-old Ken, who had also never flown before, said: “Being on a plane is even more fun than I had imagined.” His mother Elaine was equally gratified by the experience, saying that she hopes to have more opportunities to fly with her son in the future. The family currently resides in Sham Shui Po.

Second Officer and veteran CX Volunteer Nelson Chang said: “As a pilot I always encounter passengers who are accustomed to flying. On this community flight, I was able to witness the sheer joy and excitement from participants who had never flown before. This will inspire me to look at our passengers in a completely different light.”

Another CX Volunteer Vince Tsang, a flight attendant said, “I have been looking forward to join this meaningful activity as I could imagine how much it would mean to these families to be able to take a trip in the sky together. I hope that my knowledge and experience as a flight attendant helped to make it a truly unforgettable experience for our special passengers.”

Rooted in Hong Kong and serving as the city’s home carrier for 66 years, Cathay Pacific has a deep commitment to the local community. Leveraging on the uniqueness of the airline business and its people, Cathay Pacific runs a range of unique programmes which include initiatives to help the aged, the youth and the underprivileged in the Tung Chung community. The airline’s territory-wide flagship youth programmes nurture young people to build a positive attitude towards learning and to reach for their dreams. Its staff volunteering team, now has more than 1,000 volunteers, provides social services to meet the diverse needs of the community.

This is the third time the airline has operated a community flight, helping to provide a unique experience and lifelong memories for the citizens of its home city. The previous flights included one for Tung Chung residents in 2007 and another for Tung Chung secondary school students the following year.

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