Cathay Pacific A350 To Serve Gatwick, United Throws Toys Out Of Pram & Fly The A350 Short-Haul

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A round-up of some of the airline news from the past few days including a new route for Cathay Pacific, a cancelled route for United Airlines and another opportunity to try out Finnair’s new A350 without having to fly long-haul.

Cathay Pacific To Add London Gatwick Service

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that it will commence a new 4 x weekly service between Hong Kong and London’s Gatwick Airport.

The new service is scheduled to commence on 2 September 2016 (subject to government approval) and will be flown in parallel to the airline’s 5 x daily service between Hong Kong and Heathrow Airport.

CX349 HKG 00:55 – 07:10 LGW (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
CX344 LGW 12:35 – 07:25+1 day HKG (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)

I confess that, as I started to read the announcement, one of the thoughts that passed through my mind was : “I wonder what ancient aircraft they’ve found to throw at this route?” But I was on the completely wrong track:

Cathay Pacific will operate the Gatwick service with its brand new Airbus A350-900 aircraft featuring a refreshed Business Class cabin as well as new Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats. Together with the premium service provided by Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew and a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system in all classes, passengers will be assured of the best inflight experience when they travel between Hong Kong and London.

Wow. That’s a big feather in Gatwick’s cap.

Cathay Pacific A350Image courtesy of Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific A350 doesn’t come with a First Class cabin but is, instead, fitted with 38 seat Business Class seats, 28 premium Economy Seats and 214 Economy Class seats.


United Airlines Cancels Dubai Service

Listening to the US3 whinging about the Middle East Airlines got boring quite sometime ago but, just like that relative who won’t stop complaining about the government at the Christmas table, they carry on…and on….and on.

This week it’s the turn of United Airlines who have announced that they’re cancelling their Washington-Dubai route from the end of January 2016.

If you’re booked on one of these flights after that date you may wish to get in touch with the airline:

UA976 IAD 22:25 – 20:45+1 day DXB
UA977 DXB 00:10 – 07:00 IAD

Clearly United couldn’t just cancel the route and move on quietly – that would be far to classy. Instead they blamed the cancellation on the fact that a 2016 U.S government contract for this route was awarded to JetBlue and their codeshare partner Emirates who United calls a “subsidised” carrier.

Amusingly, United appears not to see the irony in suggesting that a competitor is subsidized while, in the same breath, suggesting that they would have been able to continue operating the Dubai route had the US government handed them a contract.

With Delta planning to end its flights between Atlanta and Dubai in February this leaves the Middle East without service from a US passenger carrier…which is probably no big loss for the region.

Finnair To Fy A350 On Domestic Routes

Back in October I took the opportunity to head across to Finland to try out Finnair’s latest toy – their Airbus A350 XWB – on a flight between Helsinki and London.

Finnair A350XWB

Airlines regularly schedule new aircraft on short-haul routes to give the crews a chance to get used to the new plane and these are often some of the best opportunities to try out a new product.

Well, if you didn’t get a chance to try out the A350 a few months ago Finnair is giving you another chance. They’ve scheduled an A350 to fly two domestic routes for 3 days this month:

Helsinki – Rovaniemi

17 & 18 December 2015

AY427 HEL 10:55 – 12:15 RVN
AY429 HEL 17:05 – 18:25 RVN

AY428 RVN 14:05 – 15:25 HEL
AY430 RVN 20:10 – 21:25 HEL

Helsinki – Kittila

19 December 2015

AY441 HEL 07:55 – 09:25 KTT
AY442 KTT 11:10 – 12:30 HEL

The flights are already loaded into…..

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 16.16.00

….but, with roundtrip fares coming in at a staggering €440+ I’d suggest looking into the possibility of a cheap domestic award!


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