Sunday, October 20, 2019
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Don’t be ashamed to fly

Fly

If you were to ask a climate change extremist if a mode of transport that had reduced its CO2 footprint by 84 per cent per passenger in the past 65 years was acceptable, the answer undoubtedly would be a resounding ‘yes’.

That is exactly what the jet-powered passenger aircraft has achieved that is why it is so cheap to fly.

But make no mistake, climate change is real, is certainly not new and is a big issue for frequent flyers and large corporate organizations.

The first scientist to show the link between CO2 and warming was Irish physicist and atmospheric scientist John Tyndall in 1859 when he discovered that water vapour, carbon dioxide, and ozone were the best absorbers of atmospheric heat.

READ: I hold the world non-stop flying record for a commercial jet.

However, CO2 was below 300 parts per million at the time, and his findings were more of a scientific curiosity than a cause for concern.

Fast forward to today and the situation is radically different at 407 parts per million, the highest in 800,000 years.

The airline industry is well aware of the problem and has been actively striving to reduce fuel use for decades. Initially not because of climate change, as it wasn’t an issue, but because a kilo of fuel carried is a kilo of paying payload that cannot be carried.

Pure and simple economics was the motivation and that has always been the fundamental driver of aviation.

Now the imperative is to speed that reduction to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment and the industry as lofty goals and is making great progress.

The aviation industry supports the director of the Climate Change Institute and a vice-chair of the IPCC Professor Mark Howden who says: “The scale of the increase of CO2 is huge. In my lifetime it’s gone up 100 parts per million. There has been plenty of research into CO2, but as far as its effect on atmospheric warming goes not much has changed and anyone who says that this doesn’t happen has to catch up with 150 years’ worth of science.

And that imperative for action is more evident than ever as record temperatures hit Europe in 2019. That heatwave followed similar record-breaking events in Australia in 2018 plus extreme wildfires in California.

Australia also suffered record cold snaps in June and July of 2019 and even saw snow falling on an Australian Rules Football game for the first time.

Climate change is finally galvanizing the world’s population, and not just academics and environmentalists. People can see and feel the changes and are vocal, which is to be encouraged to ensure governments and other industries act responsibly to take urgent and decisive action based on hard facts, not emotion.

However, while Greta Thunberg’s efforts are to be applauded, her Shame of Flying initiative misses the mark as the airline industry is solving its climate challenge impact to ensure people can continue to travel responsibly.

And the actions of the industry are not just hollow rhetoric.

In 2016 the aviation industry and its regulator the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) launched the first industry-wide sector-specific climate program, Corsair, that will spend $40 billion on projects that cap the climate impact.

The program formalizes the commitment to cap net CO2 from aviation from 2020 and then cut CO2 emissions by 2050 to half what they were in 2050, which aligns with the 2C Paris agreement goal.

Corsair is a global market-based measure to cap aviation emissions whereby airlines and other aircraft operators will offset almost all the growth in CO2 emissions from international flights above 2020 levels using projects approved by ICAO.

While the goal is lofty the industry admits that not all the solutions are to hand but judging by the progress since 1990 of a halving of the carbon footprint of individual journeys, the goal is achievable. Part of that success is because the industry is beating its goal to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent annually and since 2009 has achieved a 2.3 per cent rolling improvement.

And aside from what the industry is doing flyers simply have to select Offset My Flight in the booking process to fly with a CO2 free conscience. The cost is not that great.

And if they don’t then Greta is right, they ought to be ashamed to fly.

Night-time lunch part of tests on historic Qantas New York-Sydney flight

Qantas
The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane arrives at Sydney International Airport after flying direct from New York on Sunday, October 20, 2019 . Photo: Daviid Gray /Getty Images for Qantas

The human guinea pigs on the experimental Qantas non-stop flight from New York to Sydney started their flight with lunch shortly after their night-time departure.

The switch was part of a series of experiments conducted on board Flight QF7879 to try and assess the impact of ultra-long-haul flights on passengers and ways of reducing jetlag.

Tests on the 49 passengers and crew ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness to exercise classes for passengers.

The experimental flights come as Qantas is poised to make a decision on whether to proceed with Project Sunrise, which would see it fly non-stop from eastern Australia to New York and London.

READ: Is project sunrise fading into the sunset?

“Night flights usually start with dinner and then lights off,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

“For this flight, we started with lunch and kept the lights on for the first six hours, to match the time of day at our destination. It means you start reducing the jetlag straight away.”

The historic flight landed safely in Sydney 19 hours and 16 minutes after leaving New York.

That was a few minutes ahead of the airline’s regular New-York-Sydney one-stop service which had taken off three hours ahead of QF7879.

Qantas Captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots operating the service, said the flight went smoothly.

“Headwinds picked up overnight, which slowed us down to start with, but that was part of our scenario planning,” he said.

“Given how long we were airborne, we were able to keep optimizing the flight path to make the best of the conditions.

“We had a lot of interest from air traffic controllers as we crossed through different airspace because of the uniqueness of this flight. We also had a special sign off and welcome home from the control towers in New York and Sydney, which you don’t get every day.

“Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service.”

Qantas plans two more flights as part of the Project Sunrise evaluations: London to Sydney in November and a second New York-Sydney flight in December.

 

I hold the world non-stop record for a passenger jet

Boeing 777-200LR
Passengers and crew of the record breaking Boeing 777-200LR

While Qantas’ 19 plus hour test flight from New York to Sydney is impressive, in 2005 I flew a record – breaking 22.40 hours nonstop from Hong Kong to London – the wrong way.

It was, and still is, the world’s longest nonstop flight for a commercial jet aircraft and was a night and a day and a night to remember.

I was aboard the 777‑200LR for its record-breaking flight on November 9‑10, 2005.

Boeing wanted to prove the long-range capabilities of its 777‑200LR.

See dramatic video of Asiana A380 engine fire

Helping the 35 passengers, made up of flight and technical crew, Boeing executives and a handful of media, to create history was a fuel load of 164 tonnes.

The special cabin of the 777-200LR

Boeing had fitted out its 777‑ 200LR demonstrator with a luxury interior, complete with a reception area for presentations and a large business class seating zone. A couple of dozen economy seats and some test equipment completed the fit‑out.

It was our personal VIP jet.

Boeing had also provided a corporate flight attendant, Maureen Walker of Walker Aviation in Seattle. Helping her, two Boeing executives who donned black‑ties to supply a first-class service.

Boeing executives in black tie serving VIPS.

To save weight passengers were restricted to just 18kg of baggage including laptops and cameras, a situation that provided most of us with serious challenges – and revelations of how achievable travelling light actually is.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways engineering staff tended the 777‑200LR as if it was their own, while operational staff provided endless flight plan support – mostly in their own time.

Flying the 777‑200LR were nine pilots: Pilot in command Captain Suzanna Darcy‑Hennemann, Frank Santoni, John Cashman, Randy Austin and Rodney Scaar from Boeing, with Captains Reza and Malik from PIA, Captain Mathew from Singapore Airlines and Phil Schultz from GE.

Pilot in command Captain Suzanna Darcy‑Hennemann

But setting a world record is not as simple as just flying from one place to another.

Onboard was Arthur Greenfield from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) to certify that Boeing followed the complex rules to the letter. The night before the flight, the NAA had weighed all passengers and baggage; in fact, every item on board had been weighed.

The NAA has plenty of experience in such things having monitored the Wright Brothers’ distance‑record flight in 1905 – and every record flight since.

Under the NAA rules, Boeing selected three waypoints three hours before takeoff.

Setting a distance record is like a yacht race, with the aircraft having to fly over rather than around a marker, but what it does to get to that mark is up to the crew.

Like a smart yachting skipper, the 777 pilots could fly out of the way to pick up stronger tailwinds.

Our first marker was on the International Dateline north of Midway Island. The second was over Los Angeles International Airport and the third over New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Just eighteen minutes after leaving Hong Kong, the 777‑200LR reached its initial cruising altitude of 29,000ft and Captain Darcy‑Hennemann eased right back on the throttles – and what a difference to the fuel burn! At takeoff, the two GE90‑110b engines consumed 22,700kg of fuel per hour but now they were quite happy with just 6810kg and, later in the flight that would drop to just 4086kg an hour.

That’s a miserly 2.6ltrs per 100km per passenger for a typical load.

CNN’s Richard Quest asks “Are we there yet”.

The 777‑200LR tracked northeast over Taipei and the southern island of Japan, before turning due east to the mid‑Pacific. About one hour before the aircraft reached the international dateline, and its first waypoint, passengers witnessed their first sunrise.

First sunrise over the Pacific

At the first waypoint, the NAA’s Greenfield sat with the pilots to confirm that we had indeed passed over the waypoint.

The pilots then turned the 777 northeast to find a promised jet stream that would give us a kick. And kick it did. A 132kt (244k/h) tailwind had us at 614kt (1137km/h) and speeding towards Los Angeles.

A light snack!

As the 777 approached the city of freeways, passengers had cameras clicking to record the sunset. Then it was happy hour. As we approached the halfway point, out came special Silverlake sparkling wine from Washington State, which was consumed enthusiastically by the guests as we sped over Los Angeles at 03.02UTC.

Break out the Champagne…we are making history.

Then Boeing Commercial Airplane President, Alan Mulally, symbolically phoned the aircraft, which was fitted with a picocell for mobile phone use. “Congratulations! You are changing the world,” he said excitedly to a beaming Lars Andersen, then 777 VP and program manager.

Further words of encouragement were transmitted from other aircraft, although some aircraft traffic controllers were confused as to why we were flying the long way from Hong Kong to London.

Very few could sleep. It was way too exciting as we were creating history. Sleep and you might miss something!

Exercise time.

We were soon over Denver to pick up more fair winds. We then turned east towards New York, which slipped under us at 07.06UTC. Newfoundland was next and as the lights passed below, the first hint of our second sunrise had BBC and CNN cameras in the cockpit to record the historic event.

Boeing’s Rodney Scaar at the controls as the second sunrise appears.

When the 777‑200LR touched down in London a few hours later, it had flown 22,520km, although Boeing could only claim 21,601km, which was the shortest distance between the waypoints.

Touchdown at Heathrow.

Charles Lindbergh and Sir Charles Kingsford Smith would have been impressed as the Boeing 777‑200LR, had just conquered the three greatest challenges in early commercial aviation – non‑stop air travel over the continental US, Atlantic, and the Pacific – in one flight.

Boeing advert celebrating the flight. Credit Billy Glover

Lindbergh was the first to conquer the Atlantic solo in May 1927 taking 33 hours, while Kingsford Smith and his three crew took 10 days with three stops to cross the Pacific in June 1928.

For commercial aviation, it was not until 1953, with the four‑engine DC‑7, that commercial aircraft could cross the US non‑stop in both directions.

Two years later, a more powerful version of the Douglas aircraft – the DC‑7C – enabled airlines to cross the Atlantic non‑stop in both directions.

But the Pacific was not conquered non‑stop until Pan American introduced the 747SP in the 1980s.

Qantas 787 Chicago

Qantas is operating three ultra-long-haul 787 research flights to gather new data about inflight passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of planning for Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.

 

Qantas record breaking 787 flight underway

qantas

Qantas Flt 7879 nonstop from New York to Sydney has lifted off from John F Kennedy Airport at 9.27 pm local time.

The factor fresh Boeing 787, VH-ZNI, “Kookaburra” is due into Sydney Australia after the 19-hour flight at 7.29 am local time on Sunday.

The test flight – the first of three – is designed to monitor the reaction of pilots, cabin crew and passengers for the airline’s Project Sunrise.

Project Sunrise proposes an operation and aircraft that will carry 300 passengers non-stop from New York to Sydney and Melbourne and also from those two cities non-stop to London.

Airbus and Boeing are proposing the A350-1000 and the 777X-8.

Qantas’s US partner American Airlines is assisting with the flight and have advised the crew of good weather over the US.

qantas
Qantas Flt 7879 tracking across the USA.

The planned Zero Fuel Weight was 131,500 kgs and the Take-Off weight 231,916 kgs and the landing weight expected to be 136,620kgs.

READ: Air New Zealand brings relief for tall passengers

It is expected that the 787 will burn 95,000kgs on the flight and is carrying 101,000 kgs, with the difference made up for with taxi and hold and diversion contingencies.

Distance between New York and Sydney is 16,200 kilometres. This compares to a travel time of 22 hours and 20 minutes on the current New York to Sydney via Los Angeles flight.

Four pilots will be on rotation throughout the flight. Two additional pilots will be in the cabin, having flown the aircraft to New York. Total flight hour experience on the aircraft is 67,000.

At 2.19 am New York time or 5.19 pm Sydney time Flt 7879 was about to cross over LA.

 

 

Pilot MCAS messages plunge Boeing into fresh crisis

Boeing 737 MAX
The 737 MAX on one of its test flights. Photo: Boeing.

Boeing is again under fire after the emergence of instant messages from a top company pilot worrying he may have unwittingly misled regulators after experiencing simulator problems with controversial 737 MAX flight control software.

The US Federal Aviation Administration demanded an immediate explanation from the plane-maker after it discovered Boeing knew about the messages for months but only handed them to the Department of Transportation on Thursday.

The revelation saw Boeing’s  share price tumble and prompted fresh calls for a management shakeup at the company.

It comes less than a week before Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg is due to testify before a Congressional committee and as the company is attempting to get approval to return the grounded MAX fleet to service.

The global MAX fleet has been grounded since March after the plane’s MCAS flight control software was linked to two fatal accidents involving 346 deaths.

The messages, first reported by Reuters and published on The New York Times website, outline a conversation between the MAX’s then-chief technical pilot Mark Forkner and a colleague about problems on a simulator with the MCAS software linked to two fatal accidents.

In the exchange from November 2016, Forkner says MCAS is “running rampant in the sim on me”, adding “at least that’s what Vince thinks is happening”.

“So I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),’’ Forkner says.

“It wasn’t a lie, no one told us that was the case,’’ his colleague replies.

Forkner: “I’m leveling off at 4000ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like Craxy (sic). I’m like WHAT?”

Forkner jokes that he sucks at flying, adding that the problem was “egregious”.

He also questions why he is just hearing about the issue now.

Forkner’s lawyer told Reuters there had been no lie.

“The simulator was not reading right and had to be fixed to fly like the real plane.” lawyer David Gerger said.

“Mark’s career — at Air Force, at FAA and at Boeing — was about safety. And based on everything he knew, he thought this plane was safe.”

Nonetheless, the messages prompted US Federal Aviation Administration boss Steve Dickson to demand an immediate explanation which in turn led to a phone call from Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg.

The FAA said Boeing alerted the US Department of Transportation late on Thursday to the existence of the message between two employees “characterizing certain communications with the FAA during the original certification of the MAX”.

It said Boeing has told the department it had discovered the document some months ago”.

“The Department immediately brought this document to the attention of both FAA leadership and the Department’s Inspector General,’’ the FAA said in a statement.

“The FAA finds the substance of the document concerning.

“The FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery. The FAA is reviewing this information to determine what action is appropriate.”

But Boeing said it had produced the same document to “the appropriate investigating authority” earlier in the year.

“Boeing has also been voluntarily cooperating with the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s investigation into the 737 MAX,’’ it said.

“As part of that cooperation, today we brought that document to the Committee’s attention as well.

“We will continue to cooperate with the Committee, and all other authorities, as they move forward with their investigations.”

US media said the documents had earlier been turned over to the US Department of Justice, which is conducting a criminal investigation into the MAX crisis.

 

 

 

Dramatic video of Asiana A380 engine on fire

Asiana

The engine of an Asiana Airbus A380 has caught fire during refueling at Seoul airport yesterday.

According to AeroTime the A380 registered HL7652, was about to carry out flight OZ202 to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

During a start-up test, smoke and sparks were seen from the Rolls Royce Trent 970 engine which then caught fire.

READ: Air New Zealand brings relief for tall passengers 

Airport emergency services put out the fire.

However, at the time, none of the 401 passengers had boarded.

Cathay expects tough times to continue

cathay tough times
Cathay Pacific A350 on finlas to Perth through thick fog. Credit Richard Kreider

Cathay Pacific is expecting tough operating conditions significantly affecting group passenger numbers to continue until at least the end of the year.

September traffic figures published Friday show year-on-year passenger numbers were again down as the group’s home base of Hong Kong continues to be rocked by political unrest.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 2.43 million passengers, a drop of 7.1 percent compared to September 2018, while the passenger load factor fell 7.2 percentage points to 73.6 percent.

READ: CATHAY quadruples entertainment offering

At the same time, capacity in available seat kilometres rose 9.8 percent.

The challenging environment saw inbound passenger traffic drop 38 percent, the same as fall as in August, while outbound traffic was down 9 percent, a slight improvement over the 12 percent fall seen the previous month.

“The mainland China market has been hit especially hard and we observed very weak demand for travel over the National Day holiday – traditionally a very strong period,’’ said group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said.

“Our India routes were the main bright spot, buoyed by strong demand between India and North America.

“Intense competition together with an increasing reliance on transit passengers over the short term has continued to apply additional pressure on yield.

“We continue to see a significant shortfall in inbound bookings for the remainder of 2019 as compared to the same snapshot last year.

“This has been felt most strongly with bookings from mainland China and our other Asian markets.

“As previously announced, we are taking a number of short-term tactical measures to respond to this shortfall, most notably realigning capacity for the winter season (from end October 2019 to end March 2020).”

The cargo business saw some improvement compared to August with the two airlines carrying 172.637 tonnes of cargo and mail, down 4.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Lam said air freight had entered the traditional high-demand season and most markets saw a better month-on-month performance.

“However, the overall market remains challenging and competitive with tonnage carried and load factor for the year to date still significantly below the same period last year.

“We continue to closely monitor market sentiment and global travel trends in order to best align passenger and cargo capacity with demand.”

 

 

Virgin flight training deal gets foreign investment approval

Virgin flight training

Virgin Australia Group has received approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to lease facilities in Tamworth for its pilot training program.

Virgin, which needed to obtain the approval because it is mostly foreign-owned, intends to lease facilities from Tamworth Regional Council for its pilot cadet program.

It will then sublease the facilities to Australian International Aviation College (AIAC) which will conduct training in Tamworth for the airline’s pilot cadets as well as overseas students.

The airline group said Tamworth Regional Council would manage the establishment of the pilot training school and use of the facilities.

READ: Aussie airfares take a tumble in October

“Virgin Australia intends to use the flight training services of both AIAC and CAE Australia Flight Training to train its cadets, funneling talent directly into the Group,’’ a Virgin spokesman said.

“Virgin Australia will continue to run its pilot cadetship program into the future and is committed to having this program run in Tamworth.

“In addition, the Group remains committed to pilot training initiatives through our cadetship program, internal development opportunities, and current pilot training partners.”

The $A30m project has been swept up in Australian angst about Chinese influence because Virgin investor HNA Group owns 80 percent of AIAC and another Chinese company, Winbright Overseas Investment, owns a further 10 percent.

Many of the facility’s students are expected to be from China, where rapid airline growth and a limited number of domestic flying schools have prompted an overseas buying spree in countries such as Australia, Canada and the US.

Almost half of more than 5000 Chinese trainee pilots in 2017 were trained abroad, according to The Financial Times.

Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray described the decision as great news and meant commercial negotiations with Virgin Australia could move forward.

“Pilot training has a long history in Tamworth and it’s exciting we will soon see the addition of Virgin Australia cadet pilots at our purpose-built facility which is already being used by BAE Systems and CAE Australia Flight Training,” Cr Murray said in a statement.

“Planning in readiness for the first cadet pilots to arrive is well advanced.

“Council has called tenders for various operational aspects at the flying college including catering and food services to commence in the new year.

“We will be ready for Virgin Australia’s cadet pilots to take up residency here as soon as possible.”

 

JAL 787 domestic workhorse goes big on “premiumesque” Class J

JAL 787
The sizeable Class J cabin is in a spacious 2-3-2 configuration. ALL Photos: JAL

It’s fascinating to mark the evolution of the 787 from a long haul fixture to a domestic workhorse, with Japan Airlines (JAL) putting its first domestic 787-8 aircraft to work this month between Tokyo Haneda and Seoul Itami, and later this year between Haneda and Fukuoka.

Launch customer and Japan Airlines domestic competitor All Nippon Airways has long used its early (and therefore less efficient) Dreamliners on its domestic network, but few other airlines have high-capacity domestic versions of the Dreamliner.

This is particularly true of the more recent lighter and more efficient versions that have, by many airlines, been called “too much airplane” to be

Watch dramatic video of Asiana A380 engine on fire

In a fleet context, JAL has some of the world’s densest Boeing 777 aircraft for its domestic trunk routes like Tokyo Haneda to Seoul Itami and Sapporo New Chitose, including its 500-seater two-class Boeing 777-300 configuration.

The airline also currently has a fleet of 35 Boeing 767s, according to the fleet tracking site airfleets.net. Six of these are the non-ER 767-300 version largely used for medium-sized domestic routes or off-peak large routes, including Itami.

Interestingly, these are not particularly old planes as the 767s in commercial operation go: one was delivered in 1995, two in 1997, one in 1999 and two as recently as 2002.

JAL and its associated airline brands also operate a large fleet of 737-800s for city pairs with lower demand, as well as a variety of regional aircraft from Embraer E-Jets to turboprops for regional or very-low-demand services.

This new aircraft is a high-density version, with 291 seats on board: 6 in first class, 58 in the unique Class J (which is sort of like an international premium economy product), and 227 seats in regular economy. Not quite the 335 seats on Scoot’s denser 787-8s, but not too far off either.

First class is laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, with deeply reclining and very private seats from the Japanese seatmaker Jamco.

JAL
The first class seats are from Japanese seatmaker Jamco.

Class J, meanwhile, is in the standard 2-3-2 premium economy layout for the 787, making this the most spacious and overall best passenger experience of Class J in the fleet, where the 777 sees a 2-4-2 layout and the 737-800s the unusual 2-3 configuration. The seats are the Recaro PL3530.

It’s interesting that JAL selected this configuration given that it would have had the option to take eight-abreast 2-4-2 seating for Class J, which is the layout it uses in international economy on the 787.

It is, indeed, the only airline to retain the 2-4-2 configuration in economy on its long-haul Dreamliners, where other airlines use 3-3-3.

But on this domestic shuttle route the economy class seating is going to be 3-3-3, but with the remarkably impressive Recaro CL3710, more often seen on long-haul aircraft.

JAL
In economy, it’s Recaro seats in a 3-3-3 layout

In comparison with the Boeing 767s, these aircraft are directly replacing, that’s something like an inch less seat width, but it’s not dissimilar to the high-density 777 aircraft that it will be flying alongside.

Overall, it’s an upgrade from the 767 in Class J and adds first class, but in economy it’s going to be a little more squashy down the back — mitigated substantially by the choice of the comfortable Recaro seats.

The first flight of the new configuration will take place at the end of this month, between Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Itami.

JAL offers over a dozen flights a day between these two airports alone, not counting their international airports at Narita and Kansai, and the 787-8 will be flying alongside the Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 widebodies the airline also uses on these routes — as well as low-cost carriers’ narrowbodies and ANA’s widebodies.

 

Cathay quadruples inflight entertainment offering

Cathay IFE quadruple
Photo: Cathay Pacific.

A big boost to Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment means customers can now fly non-stop around the world 45 times without watching the same thing twice.

The Hong Kong-based airline is boosting the content on its entertainment system four-fold and says passengers can look forward to more newly released movies, sports coverage, complete boxsets and Asian content.

It has also recently made available live coverage of sports events to allow passengers to follow their favorite games.

READ: JetBlue, Norwegian to link networks with promise of cheaper fares

The airline has partnered with channel Sport 24 to offer customers on its A350 aircraft live coverage which this month includes the Rugby World Cup and next year will feature the Tokyo Olympics.

When it comes to films, a new agreement with streaming service and independent entertainment film specialist MUBI will give passengers access to remastered classics and films that didn’t make it to the local cinema.

The carrier is also one of the first to offer multi-season box sets that allow passengers to binge on their favorite series.

It also boasts one of the biggest airline libraries of Asian content that includes specially curated collections compiled by renowned celebrities and entertainment experts.

“Our passengers are always telling us how much they enjoy having high-quality entertainment when they travel, so weʼre delighted to be giving them so much more new, exciting content to explore,’’ said Cathay manager customer experience and design Vivian Lo.

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have had a serious impact on Cathay’s traffic and prompted it to make capacity changes on some routes.

It now plans to slightly reduced capacity in the 2019 winter season as opposed to its original plan of more than 6 percent growth over the period

Figures for August showed a year-on-year fall of 11.3 percent in the combined passenger numbers at Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

The passenger load factor also fell by 7.2 percentage points to 79.9 percent.

The airline said overall tourist arrivals in Hong Kong in August were nearly half what they usually were in what was traditionally a strong summer month.

Inbound traffic was down 38 percent while outbound fell 12 percent.

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