Cathay Pacific’s first A350 from HKG to YVR is ready for a tug to pull it to the gate
Almost 35 years ago, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) began its international expansion to North America, flying a Boeing 747-200 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Vancouver, BC (YVR). It was the first airline to fly nonstop between the two key Pacific Rim cities, and on Tuesday morning, Cathay Pacific introduced a new aircraft type on the route.
The airline’s Airbus A350-900XWB, B-LRI, touched down in the pouring rain just after sunrise, almost an hour ahead of its 8:00 AM scheduled arrival time. I was with the media group, set up on the south ramp for the A350’s expected arrival on YVR’s runway 08R. But just a few minutes before landing, the plane’s approach was changed to the north runway, 08L.
British Airways flight BA85 rolls out on YVR’s Rwy 26L – the first scheduled A380 in Vancouver –
Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo
Western Canada’s first scheduled Airbus A380 service began on Sunday evening, with the arrival of British Airways flight BA85 at Vancouver International Airport. YVR is the airline’s only Canadian A380 destination, and is one of only nine city-pairs worldwide served by one of British Airways’ eleven megajets.
The A380 replaces British Airways’ daily London-YVR Boeing 747 service for the summer season. “This is a terrific market for us, it does tremendously well, so the A380 just perfectly suits the market” says Robert Antoniuk, British Airways VP Customer Service and Operations, North America West & Mexico. “This flight is absolutely full to capacity today.” The four-cabin A380 has a total of 469 seats, a significant jump from the 345-seat 747 it replaces.
Air New Zealand’s “Pleased to Seat You” truck on display in Terry Fox Square in Vancouver
Air New Zealand is in the midst of refurbishing its Boeing 777-200ER fleet, and is showcasing the planes’ new Premium Economy and Economy Skycouch seats during a North American “Pleased to Seat You” tour.
The seats are on display in a 26 foot, 5 ton, glass-walled truck that will cover more than 7,000 miles, giving the public a chance to see and sit in the -200’s new seats. The airline introduced the innovative Skycouch in its Boeing 777-300s – the footrest in a row of three seats can be positioned at the same height as the seat cushions, giving a flexible space for passengers.
With the update of the -200s, all of the long-haul aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet will include the Skycouch, along with the new Premium Economy seats also found in its Boeing 787-9s.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK – Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC
Recently, I needed to get from New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR) and, surprisingly, it was not easy to find a flight that didn’t include a crazy set of layovers and several hours of travel time. I was not expecting to find a non-stop Cathay Pacific 777-300ER option — done!
Preparing for the flight out of New York in Cathay business class – Photo: Katka Lapelosová
The flight is special, since it is a transcontinental, but is operated as an international flight, since the stop in Vancouver is part of a longer hop to Hong Kong. Because of this, the flight lands in YVR at 1am, which means you should do some planning on getting to your final destination, since options will be limited.
It’s not a long flight – only about five-and-a-half hours – but it doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the premium experience.