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Cathay Pacific bids farewell to first charter aircraft

14 Jul 2001

Cathay Pacific Airways today bid farewell to the first of the Air China chartered aircraft to leave Hong Kong. The aircraft were originally chartered by Cathay Pacific as part of its contingency plans in the face of industrial action by the pilots' union. The departing Air China Boeing 747-400 crew were greeted at Hong Kong International Airport this morning by Cathay Pacific Inflight Service Managers Edwin Cheung and Peggy Lau.

Peggy presented Captain Xin Tian He and Chief Purser Han Shu Feng with a huge bouquet of flowers, and Edwin presented equally large bouquets to the surprised Air China cabin crew. All of the group were also given commemorative picture frames for photographic memories of their time in Hong Kong.

In the nine days since the first chartered aircraft arrived in Hong Kong, the 17 aircraft have operated a total of over 200 flights, all accompanied by senior cabin crew "ambassadors" from Cathay Pacific. The mainland crews have made many new friends among their fellow flyers in Hong Kong, and the Cathay Pacific ambassadors who flew with them were certainly impressed with their professionalism, commitment, and eagerness to learn all about Cathay Pacific.

The Air China crew had clearly enjoyed their stay in Hong Kong, but were also excited to get back to Beijing having just heard news of their city's successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. Two more of the chartered aircraft will return over the course of this weekend as Cathay Pacific's operations continue to improve.

The airline will look to release more of the 14 remaining chartered aircraft over the coming week as the airline's full schedule is gradually restored. Cathay Pacific's network has stabilised significantly since operations were disrupted last weekend by the AOA's threat of industrial action and the impact of Typhoon Utor.

Today Cathay Pacific is operating 130 flights out of its original schedule of 136 flights, and is currently in the process of restoring a number of temporarily suspended destinations. Five destinations will be restored by next Saturday, namely Penang, Cairns, Colombo, Delhi and Adelaide. Flights to New York will resume on 1 August. This will leave Karachi and Manchester as the only destinations still suspended.