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Cathay Pacific plans extra flights to help stranded passengers (2030 HKT)

21 Dec 2010

Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that it is planning to operate three extra flights from the UK to Hong Kong over the next three days as needed to provide some 1,000 seats to bring stranded passengers in London back to Hong Kong.

“Given the capacity constraints at London Heathrow with only one runway in operation, it would be a great challenge trying to operate additional flights at Heathrow. Our goal is to maintain our existing scheduled services but we are also looking at different options to help clear the backlog of stranded passengers,” a Cathay Pacific spokesman said.

Priority in boarding these extra flights to Hong Kong will be given to unaccompanied minors, young students, and passengers with special needs. There are about 400 of them in our care, including the provision of medical services for those in need, at the Park Inn Hotel near the Heathrow airport. We have sent additional staff to London to help provide passenger care service.

Parents of young students stranded in London can communicate with Cathay Pacific through email: uk_student@cathaypacific.com or hotline (852) 2747 8999. We appeal to passengers for patience as they may experience difficulty in getting through the hotline due to the large number of calls.

Other stranded Hong Kong residents who are non-UK citizens can reach us through a special email: uk_irgs@cathaypacific.com.

At present, there are about 2,800 stranded passengers in London as the severe weather conditions and the reduced operation capacity at London Heathrow airport have forced the cancellation of 15 flights -- eight flights from London and seven flights from Hong Kong to London since 18 December.

In view of the fluid operational situation at Heathrow, the prospect of more snow and the fact that seats onboard scheduled flights that would be leaving Heathrow over the next couple of days are expected to be full, it will inevitably take time to clear the backlog of stranded passengers.

Cathay Pacific will continue to look into the possibilities of arranging more additional flights to bring stranded passengers back to Hong Kong.

We strongly appeal to passengers to postpone or cancel non-essential travel between London and Hong Kong as the inclement weather and capacity constraints at London Heathrow are expected to continue to impact flight operations over the next few days. 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. Those who wish to cancel tickets can also send details to refund@cathaypacific.com.

The spokesman also reminded passengers without any confirmed bookings NOT to go to the airport. They are also advised to check the status of their flight at the airline’s website, www.cathaypacific.com, before going to the airport as the status may change with short notice.

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.

In Hong Kong, we still have some 300 affected passengers accommodated in hotels in Hong Kong, and our airport staff are making sure that they are being well looked after.