Cathay begins Airbus A350 operations to Australia

Cathay Pacific flight CX105 arrives in Melbourne. (Cathay Pacific)
Cathay Pacific flight CX105 arrives in Melbourne. (Cathay Pacific)

Cathay Pacific’s first Airbus A350-900 service to Australia has touched down at Melbourne Airport.

Flight CX105, operated by B-LRI, arrived at Tullamarine a little before 1230 on Wednesday, after a nine-hour journey from Hong Kong.

The aircraft was on the ground for about three hours before taking off as the the reciprocal CX104 to Hong Kong.

Previously, all three of Cathay’s Melbourne-Hong Kong rotations were operated with Airbus A330-300s configured with 251 seats comprising 39 in business, 21 in premium economy and 191 in economy.

Cathay's six-way economy class headrest on the A350-900. (Cathay Pacific)

By contrast, the A350-900s have 280 seats (38 business, 28 premium economy and 214 economy) and feature the airline’s latest cabin products such as on-board wifi, new premium economy seat and refreshed business and economy seats. In particular, the aircraft features Cathay’s innovative “six-way” headrest designed to make it easier for passengers to sleep.

Cathay's six-way economy class headrest on the A350-900. (Cathay Pacific)

A further capacity increase is due to take place on March 1, with the Boeing 777-300ER to take over Cathay’s CX178 overnight flight from Melbourne and CX163 morning service from Hong Kong.

The airline’s three-class 777-300ERs have 40 business class, 32 premium economy and 268 economy seats for a total of 340.

Cathay's six-way economy class headrest on the A350-900. (Cathay Pacific)
Cathay’s six-way economy class headrest on the A350-900. (Cathay Pacific)

The upgauge of aircraft type on two of the three daily flights will represent a capacity increase of 15.7 per cent to Melbourne, Cathay has said previously.

Cathay Pacific general manager for Southwest Pacific Nelson Chin said the airline was thrilled to introduce the A350-900 and offer travellers to and from Melbourne the airline’s newest passenger amenities.

“As an airline we know that air travel is much more than simply getting from A to B. We continue to improve the journey for our passengers; and this aircraft does just that,” Chin said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It is transforming the way our passengers are travelling – it’s faster, smarter, and greener, and boasts our newest cabins.”

Cathay Pacific flight CX105, operated by Airbus A350-900 B-LRI arrives in Melbourne. (Cathay Pacific)
Cathay Pacific flight CX105, operated by Airbus A350-900 B-LRI, arrives in Melbourne. (Cathay Pacific)
Cathay plans to operate the A350-900 to Brisbane from the end of March 2017. (Victor Pody)
Cathay plans to operate the A350-900 to Brisbane from the end of March. (Victor Pody)

The oneworld alliance member has utilised all available traffic rights for Hong Kong carriers to Australia’s four major international gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, which currently sits at 70 flights a week. As a result, the only way to add capacity is to upgauge to larger equipment.

In November, Cathay chief executive Ivan Chu told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) annual conference in Manila the airline’s preference was for an increased use of the A350 and 777 to Australia, rather than pushing for the bilateral to be expanded.

Flight crew celebrate the arrival of Cathay's first Airbus A350-900 to Australia. (Cathay Pacific)
Flight crew celebrate the arrival of Cathay’s first Airbus A350-900 to Australia. (Cathay Pacific)

“I don’t see an urgent move,” Chu said of the need to expand the current bilateral air services agreement between Australia and Hong Kong.

“Four times a day to Sydney and three times a day to Melbourne, that’s perhaps what we want to operate for some time.

“For us, we are happy with the frequencies and we have bigger aircraft. Putting more seats on those routes are really important so we have 777s that we are putting in.”

The use of larger aircraft follows a similar move in Sydney, where two of Cathay’s four daily flights are now operated by 777-300ERs.

Meanwhile, a YouTube video from Dj’s Aviation also captured the landing.

Comments

  1. Kim says

    Hopefully it will soon be flying out of Perth as they are the only airline that fly’s direct from here
    I flu on Singapore airlines 350’s ,Was a great plane
    Personalty i have hate all 777’s Weather they Emirates,Qatar,Singapore ,Air China and Garuda they seem squashier to me

  2. says

    A great move by Cathay Pacific. Despite being a long time Qantas frequent flyer, since Qantas retimed its Melbourne to Heathrow flight (to arrive late in the evening in London which is useless when you have to try to get a train to Cornwall to ones house) and cut back on flights from Dubai, I have exclusively used Cathay Pacific in Premium Economy for the last three years to travel to Europe on the 2-3 times that I travel, but have struggled sometimes getting a seat outbound in Premium Economy. So putting bigger and more importantly new aircraft on this route is a great move by Cathay Pacific and I applaud them. I am only likely to consider Qantas again in March 2018 when the non stop service from Perth to London commences giving me an early arrival into London

  3. Stig says

    wow! what an amazing video and article, considering I don’t come on this website very often but I love the magazine. Great plane, Great article and Great everything! keep up the good work! from stig

  4. Craigy says

    @Andrew. I don’t know what Qantas flight you have been getting to London from Melbourne but the Melbourne – Heathrow departs Melbourne at 2325 and scheduled to arrive in London at 1240pm. The Heathrow – Melbourne service departs London at 1155am and scheduled to arrive in Melbourne at 2125.

    The QF9 aircraft is used for the QF2 service and the QF1 aircraft is used for the QF10 service. The QF10 aircraft turns around in Melbourne and departs as QF9.

  5. Andrew says

    Andrew QF9 arrives in Heathrow at 12:20 lunch time.

    QF10 into Melbourne arrives at 21:30 is perfect, have a decent sleep and no jetlag the next day.

  6. Joe says

    It would be great if Qantas purchased the A350/A330neo over the squashed 787. Not a game changer in m opinion. The A350 is my choice over the 787.

  7. Archie says

    Bring on the A350s with 18″ economy seats, I couldn’t take more than a short hop in a Nightmareliner (only JAL does what the manufacturer intended).

  8. says

    wow! what an amazing video and article, considering I don’t come on this website very often but I love the magazine. Great plane, Great article and Great everything! keep up the good work! from stig

    Apologies Folks For Cribbing Stig’s Works

    I Could Not Have Commented/ Summarised OUR Gratitude More ‘Succinctly !’

    Sincerely
    Ted

  9. Darren says

    Guys, bring squashed is the particular AIRLINES seat choice (pitch and width), not necessarily the aircraft manufacturer.
    Emirates choose to put 10 seats across a 777 while Cathay use 9, for now at least!. I.e. wider seats.
    787 operated on medium haul will have completely different seats from one used mainly for Ultra Long Haul.