Hainan Airlines & Cathay Pacific Battle It Out at Manchester: both roster new equipment and increase to daily

In December 2014, Manchester experienced the resumption of a Cathay Pacific service to Hong Kong – the only direct service from the UK Regions to the Far East. It operated four-times weekly with Boeing 777-300ER equipment.

In October 2015, Manchester secured the first flight from the UK Regions to Beijing with Hainan Airlines. It began in June 2016, four-times weekly with Airbus A330-300 equipment.

Credit to anna.aero – Hainan Airlines Inaugural Flight to Manchester (10th June 2016)

Since then, it is fair to say, that both routes have been performing very well for both airlines. In February 2017, Cathay Pacific carried 10,056 passengers on it’s four-weekly MAN-HKG route (according to CAA Provisional Statistics) – based on four-weekly 77W.

Both airlines are in a sort of competition, whereby they are not competing directly, but mirroring what eachother does:

  • In December 2016, Cathay Pacific announced an increase to five-weekly from June, operating with new equipment: the A350 XWB.
  • In early 2017, Hainan Airlines announced an increase to five-weekly in June
  • Also, in early 2017, Cathay Pacific announced that they would go daily from December, operating with the A350 XWB.
  • In April 2017, Hainan Airlines also introduced new equipment from May (B787-8/-9) and announced that they would go daily from July through September

“This added frequency shows Hainan Airlines commitment to the UK market and it responds to the increased demand for this route from Manchester Airport. This has been a successful route for Hainan Airlines since its inaugural flight on the 10th of June 2016, and as we approach our 1st year anniversary, an increased frequency is a wonderful way of celebrating such success.”

-Loic Gao, UK General Manager for Hainan Airlines, commenting on the increased frequency

So both airlines are steadily increasing their offering at Manchester. It is great to have daily links to Beijing and Hong Kong and new equipment from both airlines!

Has anybody flown on these flights from Manchester? What do you think about the expanded operation?

Ryanair Takes Delivery of 450th 737-800

On March 21st, budget airline Ryanair took delivery of their 450th next generation B737-800.

“Ryanair is proud to partner with Boeing and has operated an all-Boeing fleet since 1994. Our current order of 737-800s and the 737-MAX 200 ‘Gamechanger’ will allow us to grow our fleet to 585 aircraft and our passenger numbers to 200 million per annum by 2024, maintaining our position as Europe’s largest, and greenest and cleanest airline”

Ryanair’s Chief Operations Officer, Mick Hickey.

The new B737 Max will hold up to 200 passengers which adds an extra 11 seats from the current B737-800s but most importantly, will provide huge savings on fuel efficiency. Ryanair currently has 100 unfilled orders of the aircraft. The order means that Ryanair will carry 200,000,000 passengers by 2024.

“Ryanair has consistently demonstrated the outstanding economic, reliability and safety capabilities of the Next-Generation 737-800, using this airplane as the foundation to become one of the biggest airlines in the world. To deliver the 450th 737-800 is truly a significant milestone in both companies shared history and we look forward to supporting Ryanair on the next phase of its incredible journey with the introduction of the 737 MAX 200.”

Monty Oliver, vice president, European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Other related news:

  • Norwegian have already unveiled their plans to use the 737 Max on transatlantic routes. The airline have 108 on order.
  • Easyjet are set to receive their first A320NEO in the next few months. They have a total of 130 on order.
  • Asiana have taken delivery of their first A350XWB. This is the first of two that they have on order.

Anything you want covered on my next post? Drop me a message on Instagram and I’ll try fit it in!

Until Next Time Aviators

Photo by Boeing Company

Qatar Airways announces new route to the UK; amid 11 other new route announcements

Doha based Qatar Airways currently serves 4 UK destinations: London Heathrow (served on a six-daily basis), Manchester (served up to eighteen-weekly), Birmingham and Edinburgh (both served daily). However, this is about to change, with Qatar announcing a brand-new route to the UK.

Cardiff, Wales will become Qatar’s fifth destination in the UK, planned to begin in 2018. Other new routes announced by the airline include Accra, Kiev, Mykonos, Malaga, San Francisco and Chittagong.

As of yet, however, there is no official launch date, frequency or aircraft announcement for the route, so the new Cardiff-Doha route could become a victim of Qatar’s notorious announcing, then delaying of new routes. For example, Qatar announced plans to launch flights to Las Vegas to begin in January 2017; a route that is now expected to launch in June 2018.

“It is fantastic that we will now be able to offer our customers more choice of travel with a world-class airline providing easy connections to destinations across the world.”

There is clearly work to be done on the part of Cardiff Airport, in providing the services to support a long-haul route, with a premium airline but the importance of this new connection to the region and Cardiff’s standing as a gateway cannot be underestimated, especially since it was widely seen that Bristol would be the number one candidate for a new MEB3 route to the UK, given Thomson’s 787 operations and the now-cancelled Continental Bristol-New York Newark route.

My Conclusion:

It is superb to see Qatar Airways branching out to serve so many smaller destinations worldwide –  including Cardiff. It is likely to increase investment to the South Wales region and increase inbound tourism, thus providing an economic boost to the area. It will also provide unprecedented levels of connectivity to the population, who will be able to connect to over 150 destinations via Doha. I, for one, can’t wait to see Qatar gracing Welsh ground.

Who else is excited that Qatar is reaching out to Wales?