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Old December 13th, 2005, 01:14 AM   #581
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zergcerebrates
Still no sign of Cathay ordering A380's?

It would be soooo nice to see the A380 in Cathay Pacific colors.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #582
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From ATW Daily News - Geoffrey Thomas 5/12/05:

Quote:
Cathay Pacific Airways' love affair with the 747-400 is set to continue for "many years yet," according to COO Tony Tyler. Speaking to this website after the selection of the 777 (ATWOnline, Dec. 2), Tyler confirmed that the 777-300ERs ordered last Thursday will be used for "new services" that will include new destinations and increased frequencies. The longer-term 747 replacement for the heaviest routes at Cathay will pit the A380--which Airbus COO-Commercial John Leahy vows the airline will buy--against the born-again 747-8.
Stuck with 744s? And even CONSIDERING 748s to replace it??
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Old December 13th, 2005, 04:43 AM   #583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Tak
From ATW Daily News - Geoffrey Thomas 5/12/05:



Stuck with 744s? And even CONSIDERING 748s to replace it??
Haha, are you saying this is a petty issue for a wealthy airline?
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:25 AM   #584
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Well, some of CX's 744s ARE starting to show their age.

I can see them getting the A380 for some high density routes (eg HKG-LHR), but not just yet. Probably waiting to see if the A380 performs as advertised...
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:46 AM   #585
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superchan7
Haha, are you saying this is a petty issue for a wealthy airline?
It's a combination of that, plus I'm sick and tired of Brits and ex-Brits bowing to the almighty Boeing... then countering by saying "well we order Rolls-Royce engines most of the time." Bah humbug!

That said, I totally understand if Cathay goes all-out with 777s and 787s for their non-jumbo fleet, but the 747-8? The only reason not to choose the A380 is to be totally biased against anything Airbus.

But I think eventually they will order A380s to replace their 744s. Cathay's shown more willingness to go with Airbus over Boeing than say British Airways. Airbus needs to slap around that airline, bunch of silly people running it.

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Old December 13th, 2005, 07:00 AM   #586
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They do have three coveted A340-600 jets in service...that's quite unique. While I do think the 346 is mighty sexy, the B777-300 has a significantly larger fuselage aiding in practicality.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 04:15 AM   #587
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Flying the colours - Cathay Pacific Airways is proud of its home base and determined to meet the challenge of rising fuel costs
12 December 2005
South China Morning Post

In Cathay City, headquarters of Cathay Pacific Airways, a four-letter word is having a profound impact on everything in relation to the company's prospects for the financial year - fuel.

The cost of oil has rocketed from US$46 a barrel in the first six months of last year to US$65 a barrel this year and, according to chairman David Turnbull in the airline's 2005 interim report, fuel now accounts for 27.9 per cent of total net operating costs.

Last year, fuel costs were just 21.8 per cent of total net operating costs.

Mr Turnbull warns in the interim report: "The high fuel price at present shows no sign of correction and our reduced hedging further exposes us to higher costs should the trend continue."

Chief executive Philip Chen Nan-lok is under no illusions about the potential difficulties ahead if fuel prices continue to rise. "It is challenging, to put it mildly," he said.

"It has been a year of high fuel costs, which is affecting the bottom line. Demand has been very good. Passenger loads and cargo loads are still very high. But the point is our profitability as we have been announcing has come down drastically because of the fuel prices.

"In the longer run, if it goes on it is not only the airline that will suffer. It will impact on the economy. That impact is international."

Although high fuel prices are a challenge for every airline, the international aviation market is not a level playing field.

While airlines overseas are helped along by subsidies and bailouts, Cathay has never gone cap in hand to the government. The 2001 terror attacks in the US represented a major disaster for the international aviation industry, Mr Chen said. But while many airlines were propped up by their governments, Cathay rode out the storm alone.

"This is not an industry that is really free or fair," he said.

He believes in the survival of the fittest and said of the bail-outs and subsidies provided in the wake of the 2001 attacks: "What sense does that make? We don't need 400 airlines in the world. Many of them should come down. Why do governments prop them up?"

The success of Cathay Pacific in its continuing unaided expansion is put into sharper focus when you compare its lack of advantages with those of some of its international competitors.

"Compared with other carriers, Cathay has a very small market share of Hong Kong," Mr Chen said. "If you look at San Francisco, United Airlines has 57 per cent of all the takeoffs at San Francisco airport. British Airways has over 40 per cent of takeoffs at Heathrow. We have 25 per cent.

"We are in no way dominating or controlling at our home airport. If you think about it, if you want to go to Bangkok from Hong Kong, how many airlines can you choose from? Fourteen. How many flights to London? About nine, and those are the direct flights.

"Hong Kong is a very small home base. The cost of operations in Hong Kong is not cheap {hellip} Because the market is so open and liberal, the pressure on yields is extremely challenging.

"We make 46 cents a kilometre, including first class. Years ago it was about 60 cents. Air fares keep coming down. Yields continue to come down," he said.

The success of Cathay Pacific and the success of Hong Kong are closely linked, however, in a way that Mr Chen suggests that many people in the territory do not fully grasp. The opportunities ahead if that success is achieved are also enticing in a way that people do not always appreciate.

Mr Chen has a vision for the future of Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong that extends way beyond the difficulties of rising fuel costs and looks instead to China's Xian empire of 1,000 years ago and the Rome of 2,000 years ago.

"What is the secret formula for a great city?" Mr Chen asked. "Everyone says 'Look at the pollution, look at the population policy'. My submission is that to be a great city you have to be a transport centre. Two thousand years ago, all roads led to Rome. Do you remember anything about their environment policy or their population policy? No.

"To turn Hong Kong into a modern-day transport hub Cathay Pacific must expand and fully enhance itself as the hub carrier," he said.

Explaining the benefits of a thriving hub carrier, Mr Chen said: "Seventy per cent of our income is from overseas. In many ways you can say Cathay Pacific is the largest foreign revenue earner for Hong Kong.

"When you earn the revenue, you invest it in your home base. We would not build our head office anywhere other than Hong Kong. We employ a lot of people here and, of course, we attract foreign talent to Hong Kong. That helps the vibrancy of the city.

"More importantly it is also in our self-interest to promote tourism to Hong Kong. The airlines influence retailing as well. If you live in Australia and you want to go to Britain, you can buy a Cathay Pacific ticket and go via Hong Kong. Everyone gains from it. If you buy a Singapore Airlines ticket you do not go via Hong Kong.

"All these factors have multiple impacts on the economy. The airline is bringing in tourists and people travelling through Hong Kong. It is not just the airport that benefits but hotels and retailers as well.

"An airline is also in many ways an icon of your country or city overseas. It is very easy for people to remember. Think of the Philippines and Philippine Airways. We need to work together towards the objective of making Hong Kong an aviation centre. That way we can say that we are truly Asia's world city."

Next year, Cathay Pacific will mark its 60th anniversary. At around the same time it will take delivery of its 100th aircraft. At the time of the handover, the airline had just 59 aircraft in its fleet.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #588
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I think Cathay will rather buy 747 Advanced rather than A380. Sad, but yea!!!!
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Old December 14th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #589
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Cathay Pac says to sign aircraft deal with Boeing

HONG KONG, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said on Wednesday that it will sign an aircraft acquisition contract with Boeing following its announcement of a major fleet expansion earlier this month.

Trading in Cathay Pacific's shares was suspended on Wednesday afternoon, pending the contract signing statement, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

The Hong Kong flag-carrier announced two weeks ago that it would buy 12 wide-body Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with purchase rights for 20 more in its biggest-ever order.

Cathay also made commitments to lease four more 777-300ERs from the International Lease Finance Corp. arm of U.S. insurer American International Group Inc. and buy three Airbus A330-300s.

The Cathay spokeswoman would not disclose the price tag for the orders.

But the 12 Boeing 777-300ERs have a catalogue value of about $3 billion, although plane makers routinely offer discounts.

Shares of Cathay Pacific fell HK$0.05, or 0.38 percent, to HK$13.25 prior to the suspension.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #590
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Cathay gets clearance for aircraft purchase
15 December 2005
South China Morning Post

Cathay Pacific Airways said yesterday it had received a written approval from its major shareholders - Swire Pacific and Citic Pacific - to buy 12 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for US$2.85 billion.

Cathay said the consideration would be payable in cash in six instalments, with the first five instalments to be paid before the delivery of each aircraft. The consideration was lower than Boeing's catalogue price.

Shares of Cathay were suspended from trading yesterday and will resume today.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 07:24 PM   #591
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A Cathay 747 in the old livery.
Source : http://www.air-and-space.com/lax000106.htm

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Old December 16th, 2005, 04:31 AM   #592
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Boeing, Cathay Pacific Airways Finalize Agreement for 777-300ERs
Boeing Press Release

SEATTLE, Dec. 15, 2005 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday signed a definitive agreement for the purchase of 12 Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners and purchase rights for 20 additional 777-300ERs.

Cathay Pacific announced its intention to order the 12 aircraft, valued at approximately US$2.85 billion at list prices, earlier this month in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific plans to take delivery of the new 777-300ERs between September 2007 and July 2010. The 777-300ERs will be powered by the General Electric GE 90-115BL2 engine, the world's largest and most powerful commercial jet engine. Separately, Cathay Pacific plans to lease four more 777-300ERs from International Lease Finance Corporation.

"This is one of the world's best airlines choosing one of the world's best airplanes," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Cathay Pacific's reputation for exceptional passenger service and effective and profitable operations makes its selection of the 777-300ER especially rewarding."

An initial launch customer of the Boeing 777-200 and later of the 777-300, Cathay Pacific has played a critical role in the program's success and especially in shaping the performance capabilities and comfort standards of the 777 twinjet family. The 777 fuselage cross-section finally adopted by Boeing during the aircraft's design phase was originally proposed by Cathay Pacific. The airline currently operates 16 777-200s and -300s for regional operations, and with this order the carrier has endorsed the 777 family as the standard of its ultra-long-haul service for the future.

"These aircraft orders mark an exciting and significant milestone in the development of our airline," said Philip Chen, chief executive officer, Cathay Pacific Airways. "These aircraft will enhance our strength as a carrier and Hong Kong's position as a global hub and gateway to the Chinese Mainland."

The 777 family of airplanes is popular with passengers and airlines alike due to its fuel-efficient twin-engine design, high reliability, low operating costs, and comfortable and spacious interior. The 777-300ER carries 365 passengers up to 7,880 nautical miles (14,594 kilometers).

Recently, Boeing made enhancements to the 777-300ER that improve the airplane's overall fuel efficiency by 1.4 percent. This amount is in addition to the 2 percent fuel-burn improvement already proven in revenue service by airlines that currently operate the 777-300ER. The 1.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency equates to an annual savings of approximately 200,000 gallons (757,000 liters) per aircraft.

With today's signing, Boeing has secured 127 orders for the 777 in 2005. Over the life of the 777 program, 43 airlines worldwide have placed 800 firm orders for 777s.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 05:10 PM   #593
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Cathay fires attendant over sick leave - Union unhappy at sacking under new monitoring system
13 December 2005
South China Morning Post

At least one Cathay Pacific flight attendant has been fired since the company's attendance monitoring system was revised in October.

The chairwoman of the airline's Flight Attendants Union (FAU), Becky Kwan Siu-wah, said a flight attendant was fired on November 18 because she had taken long periods of sick leave.

The woman, identified only as Ms Chan, took about 100 days of sick leave in 2004 because of a foot injury and had taken about 50 days of ad hoc sick leave since January this year.

On November 1 this year, she signed a consent form agreeing to be assessed under the programme, but she received a letter of termination 18 days later.

"It is unreasonable for Cathay to fire her because the company doctor said she was suitable for flying and she had already resumed her normal work duties for over a year," Ms Kwan said.

Under the programme, flight attendants who take long or frequent sick leave have to see their seniors and company doctors for assessment. They are also required to sign a letter authorising the disclosure of their medical records to the airline.

"We wrote letters to the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data last month because this clearly violates people's personal data privacy and discriminates against crew taking sick leave," Ms Kwan said.

"Both have responded saying the complainant should lodge a formal complaint themselves. It is unreasonable to ask the complainant to step out and be a scapegoat."

Equal Opportunities Commission spokeswoman Shirley Lung Suet-ying said that under the personal data (privacy) ordinance, a complaint must be lodged by the individual involved.

"We can conduct compliance checks but without a complaint by the individual it doesn't give us any power to investigate the matter. Our staff have already explained this to the FAU and we will contact them again to provide further assistance in this matter," Ms Lung said.

Cathay spokeswoman Carolyn Leung Yuet-fong said the programme had been launched so the airline could find out why some people had high absence rates.

"We need to find out if they are seeing good doctors and whether we can help. Also, when people are always taking sick leave, we have to call for stand-by flight attendants, which {hellip} could cause disruption to the entire cabin crew," Ms Leung said.
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Old December 18th, 2005, 07:16 AM   #594
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Cathay orders union to remove bulletin
18 December 2005
South China Morning Post

Cathay Pacific has ordered its flight attendants' union to remove from public display a newsletter that says unhappy cabin crew have been considering a mass "sick-out" campaign over Christmas and the New Year.

The company's general manager for inflight services, Peter Langslow, has also used a Christmas letter to staff to attack the Flight Attendants' Union (FAU), accusing its leaders of attempting to "worry our customers and damage our excellent reputation".

The row has erupted after the FAU put out a newsletter to its 4,400 members saying crew members felt "angry, worried, harassed and threatened" over the company's revised attendance monitoring programme which can lead to sackings for excess sick leave.

The newsletter, signed by FAU leader Becky Kwan Siu-wa, said: "There is widespread unrest among the crews on this [programme] and many have suggested 'mass sick-out campaigns' during the festive season in order to demonstrate their dissatisfaction."

Sick-out campaigns have been used in the past during industrial disputes between Cathay pilots and management, and earlier this year by Dragonair flight attendants in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

However, the FAU newsletter adds: "We state clearly that the FAU is not instigating industrial action in any form. We wish to maintain open and rational dialogue with the ISD [Inflight Services Department], albeit with tremendous difficulty."

Ms Kwan said the FAU received an e-mail from Richard Sell, the manager of cabin crew relations, ordering it to remove the newsletter from the lockable union notice board in the cabin crew lounge at Cathay City because it was "confrontational".

Ten months ago, Mr Sell instructed the union to remove newspaper cuttings from the same notice board ahead of a $350 million breach of contract case between Cathay Pacific and the FAU in the High Court which the union won.

"Asking us to remove things from the noticeboard is unacceptable and an infringement on our freedom of speech," Ms Kwan said.

In the same newsletter, FAU attacks Cathay for failing to hold year-end negotiations with the union this year. It has awarded a 13th-month bonus and honoured automatic pay-scale rises but awarded no end-of-year pay rises.

More than 1,000 FAU members have signed petition letters demanding pay talks with the company, Ms Kwan said, although Cathay claimed last week that cabin crew were happy with their deal and year-end bonus.

In his Christmas message to all 6,000 cabin crew, Mr Langslow says the implied threat of action in the FAU newsletter is "unconstructive particularly at a time of year when everyone in the airline, including cabin crew, is working hard to ensure our passengers can be reunited with friends and family for the Christmas holiday".

He writes that the FAU executive's actions "seem calculated to damage the company and its reputation and to sour relations between us". He says Cathay has good relations with all its unions "except the FAU".

Asked about the instruction to remove the newsletter from the union noticeboard, a Cathay spokeswoman said the FAU was allowed to use the notice board on company office premises only if the material was judged to be "in the interests and [for the] benefit of all staff".
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Old December 19th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #595
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19 December 2005
Corporate Press Release
Cathay Pacific the world’s first airline to take delivery of a new type of freighter aircraft


The B747-400BCF’s development and delivery is part of Cathay Pacific’s biggest ever investment to grow its fleet and network, and strengthen Hong Kong as a global aviation hub and premium gateway to the Chinese Mainland.


The world's first Boeing 747-400BCF, or Boeing Converted Freighter, is unveiled at a special "roll-out" ceremony today by Cathay Pacific Chairman David Turnbull (third from left) along with Vice President and General Manager Boeing Commercial Aviation Services Lou Mancini (third from left), and Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (TAECO) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chan Ping Kit (second from right).


Cathay Pacific Airways today became the world's first airline to take delivery of a brand new type of freighter aircraft converted from a Boeing 747-400 passenger jet at a special "roll-out" ceremony attended by more than 500 people in Xiamen, China.


The aircraft's development and delivery is part of Cathay Pacific's biggest ever investment to grow its fleet and network, and strengthen Hong Kong as a global aviation hub and premium gateway to the Chinese Mainland. The aircraft will enter service on 21 December to Penang and afterwards operating routes to Europe and North America.

The gala in Xiamen was hosted by Cathay Pacific Chairman David Turnbull along with Engineering Director Derek Cridland, Vice President and General Manager Boeing Commercial Aviation Services Lou Mancini, Boeing-China President David Wang, and Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (TAECO) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chan Ping Kit.

The Boeing 747-400BCF, or Boeing Converted Freighter, was converted from a Cathay Pacific passenger aircraft. The airline has firm orders for six such aircraft, including this one, and options on six more. Creating freighters from existing aircraft makes economic sense and allows the airline to quickly grow its freighter capacity to meet market demand.

The aircraft's transformation took place at TAECO, in Xiamen, where today's ceremony was held. Major structural changes included removing all previous passenger fittings, installing a reinforced floor, cargo handling system and cutting a large loading door in the rear of the aircraft's fuselage.

Cathay Pacific assisted Boeing in the new aircraft type certification process that was conducted in Hong Kong. It was the first time Boeing certified a new aircraft outside of the United States. Conversion work started in April and took five months to complete. The certification programme started in September.

Cathay Pacific Engineering Director Derek Cridland said: "Cathay Pacific has an impressive record of being the first airline to operate new aircraft types. We were the world’s first airline to fly the Boeing 777-300 and the Rolls Royce powered Boeing 747-400, the type from which this new freighter has been converted. Our involvement in its certification underscores Hong Kong's position as a centre of global aviation excellence. The addition of further 747-400BCF aircraft to our fleet will allow us to expand our services and further strengthen Hong Kong as the world's busiest international air cargo hub."

"Our Boeing team is thrilled to deliver the first 747-400BCF to Cathay Pacific," said Lou Mancini, vice president and general manager for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. "I am proud of our Boeing employees who worked in partnership with TAECO to complete this well designed and expertly managed conversion."

TAECO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer PK Chan said: "TAECO is proud to work with Boeing on the 747-700BCF project. The conversion work on the world's first B747-400 aircraft for Cathay Pacific was completed on schedule with the close co-operation amongst Boeing, Cathay Pacific and TAECO. We hereby would like to thank our dedicated staff for their hard work day and night."

Last month Cathay Pacific expanded its freighter network with a new three-times-weekly freighter service to Dallas and Atlanta in the United States. It also announced its biggest-ever new aircraft acquisition with orders for 16 long-haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and purchase rights on 20 more. It also made commitments to acquire three Airbus A330-300s via operating leases for regional services. The airline will have 100 aircraft in 2006, its 60th Anniversary.

At the ceremony, TAECO, in which both Cathay Pacific and Boeing have shares, marked the opening of a fourth maintenance hangar commissioned specifically to convert further freighters.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #596
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China's Taeco rolls out first Boeing 747 converted freighter - report
20 December 2005
Xinhua

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Co (Taeco) rolled out its first Boeing 747 freighter converted from a passenger plane yesterday for client Cathay Pacific Airways, with more such conversions seen due to growing cargo demand in China, the South China Morning Post reported.

The report said the company hopes conversions will boost its business by 25 pct.

Taeco has four hangars that can accommodate eight wide-bodied aircraft, and the construction of a fifth hangar should be completed in 2007, said chief executive Chan Ping-kit, according to the report.

Cathay Pacific, which is also a part-owner of Taeco, plans to convert five more 747-400 passenger jets into freighters as it switches much of its long-haul p[assenger fleet to new Boeing 777s, the report said.

Taeco plans to expand its conversion know-how to 767-300 aircraft and the company said that it was already negotiating with potential customers.

Taeco, founded in 1993 in Xiamen, is a consortium comprising major shareholder Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering along with Xiamen Aviation Industry, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Boeing Commercial Aeroplane Group and Beijing Kailan Aviation Technology Development & Service, a subsidiary of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
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Old December 25th, 2005, 05:19 AM   #597
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Cabin crew fear sexual harassment if they must wake pilots
25 December 2005
South China Morning Post

Air stewardesses on long-haul Cathay Pacific flights have complained about being told to wake up sleeping pilots in their bunks, saying they may be put in embarrassing situations or subjected to sexual harassment.

Stewardesses on the new Airbus A340-600 have to go into a private cabin where a relief pilot is sleeping alone, sometimes naked, and shake him to wake him, the Flight Attendants' Union (FAU) says.

The union's chairwoman, Becky Kwan Siu-wa, said the practice had become an issue since the introduction of the long-range Airbus, which has sleeping quarters for cabin and cockpit crew.

Unlike other long-haul planes, the sleeping quarters on the three A340-600s in the Cathay fleet have a separate cabin with a closing door where one of the four pilots on duty will rest, usually alone.

"We have to enter the room, and if you don't want to wake other people up in the sleeping quarters outside, you have to be very quiet. You have to be very gentle and really physically touch the person to wake them up," said Ms Kwan. "Some people have the habit of sleeping naked and sometimes they might wake up [if a stewardess comes in] and say 'oh, my lucky dream'.

"It is dark and a person is sleeping by himself or herself, because we also have women pilots. We could also have people with different sexual preferences. If you send a male steward down to a male pilot you might also have a problem.

"No individual is comfortable enough to go into a dark room and wake someone up. You have to have physical contact to wake someone up when they are fast asleep. Most people do sleep naked if they are by themselves in a room in the dark."

Flight attendants have taken their complaint to management. The union has asked for the practice to stop and for pilots to be told to use wristwatch alarms to wake themselves, but Cathay refused the demand.

Ms Kwan said the issue was first raised more than a year ago when flight operations management gave a vague promise that cabin crew would not be sent to wake sleeping pilots.

A Cathay spokeswoman said alternatives of using an alarm clock or a tannoy-style announcement were impractical as they would wake other crew sleeping in the same rest area.

"Out of consideration for the other crew, it can be preferable for cabin crew to wake the cockpit crew," she said.

"Cockpit crew may have different rest periods to cabin crew and therefore have different body-clock rest requirements."

She said: "We have not had any reported cases of embarrassment or harassment by cockpit or cabin crew in the crew rest area."
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Old January 1st, 2006, 10:24 AM   #598
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國泰客機起落架故障折返
12月 31日 星期六 23:10 更新
明報

國泰航空一班由本港飛往馬尼拉的客機,晚上起飛後十分鐘發現起落架有故障折返,搭客安全。

起落架故障的班機在晚上約八時起飛,但起落架未能收起,機師通知本港機場控制塔折返,二十分鐘後安全降落。班機載有305名乘客,他們獲國泰安排改搭另一班機,繼續航程。
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 03:43 AM   #599
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bs_lover_boy
I think Cathay will rather buy 747 Advanced rather than A380. Sad, but yea!!!!
CX will wait to see how the A-380 performs with the first operators such as SQ, AF, QF and LH. If outcome is OK, then CX could need a few A380 for the LHR and LAX route, for instance.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 08:30 PM   #600
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Cathay plans new-generation jets

Alman Loong

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's biggest carrier, plans to purchase medium-sized aircraft like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350 to serve longer routes in North America and Europe starting in 2009.
A company source said that at a senior management conference held last month to discuss plans for 2006-08, director of corporate development Augustus Tang said there is potential to acquire new "long, thin" routes to the United States and Europe with new- generation B787s and A350s.

The list price of the B787, which ranges in size from 250 to 300 seats, is US$136 million (HK$1.06 billion). The rival A350 is somewhat cheaper.

Cathay Pacific recently ordered 19 new aircraft - mostly Boeing 777ERs - for delivery between 2007 and mid- 2010.

The airline expects to have 125 planes in its fleet by 2010, compared to 100 now, Tang was quoted as saying.

The airline also wants to position itself as Asia's No 1 combined passenger and cargo carrier by acquiring new freighters, including Boeing's 744-8 and B777F and Airbus' 380F, after 2009. Cathay has also said it plans to open its own cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay is under growing pricing pressure on some of its key routes, including Britain, Germany and Australia.

Prices to Sydney have fallen since Virgin Atlantic and Emirates began competing aggressively on the route. The source said Cathay chief executive Philip Chen told the same meeting of senior staff that the airline is keeping a close eye on developments at Hong Kong-based CR Airways. The fledgling carrier, in which Hainan Airlines plans to take a 70 percent stake, has announced that it intends to purchase up to 40 new Boeing aircraft.

Cathay also faces potential competition from budget carrier Oasis Airlines, which expects to enter the market later this year with Hong Kong-Europe return flights as cheap as HK$3,000.

Tang was quoted as saying that Cathay plans to reduce costs to HK$1.80 per air ton-kilometer this year. In 2003, the company reduced costs to HK$2 per ATK, but they rebounded to HK$2.07 per ATK in 2005 because of high fuel prices.

He said the airline will adopt rigorous cost-cutting measures, including renegotiation of supplier contracts and outsourcing and offshore relocation of maintenance work.

Tang said the company expects its decision to operate call centers in China and India will save 50 percent on the costs of those operations.
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