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Cathay Pacific launches Vancouver's first Airbus A350 service (PHOTOS)

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Kenneth Chan Mar 28, 2017 5:55 am 3,539

A Cathay Pacific flight that arrived at Vancouver International Airport this morning was heralded as the first scheduled flight of the new Airbus A350-900 aircraft in Canada.

It’s all part of the Hong Kong-based airline’s plan of increasing its weekly, non-stop flights between YVR and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) from 14 to 17 weekly, utilizing the new aircraft, beginning this week.

The A350 departs YVR at 9:25 am on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and leaves Hong Kong at 11 am on the same days of the week. For other scheduled flights, the route utilizes a Boeing 777-300ER.

The state-of-the-art aircraft has one of the quietest cabins in the skies, and its high cabin pressure technology with improved humidity, temperature control, and circulation makes for a significantly more comfortable flight experience.

Additionally, passengers on the new aircraft can also expect more cabin space, larger windows, and the latest entertainment flight system in the industry.

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The earliest airline from the Asia Pacific

Cathay Pacific launched its service between YVR and HKG in 1983 with a then-state-of-the-art Boeing 747-200 aircraft, making it the first airline to fly Trans-Pacific flights from Asia to Canada.

Since then, the YVR-HKG route has become one of Vancouver International Airport’s most frequent and competitive overseas routes. Air Canada also operates daily, non-stop flights between the two cities, and a third airline – Hong Kong Airlines – will also commence daily, non-stop flights on the route beginning June 30.

“This YVR to Hong Kong route has been consistently strong, increasing demand from customers year over year,” said Anne Murray, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications for Vancouver Airport Authority, during a press conference. “And this strength has provided opportunities for partners like Cathay Pacific to grow their services while supporting YVR in creating a sustainable gateway between Asia and the Americas.”

The three new weekly flights are projected to generate 163 additional jobs in BC, $5.6 million in new wages, $1.6 million in new tax revenue, and add $8.6 million in GDP.

Major player in Vancouver’s Chinese immigration history

Teresa Wat, the BC Minister of International Trade and Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, credited Cathay Pacific for being a key player in the wave of immigration from Hong Kong to Canada following the British government’s decision in the 1980s to transfer the sovereignty of the colony of Hong Kong to China.

The exodus from Hong Kong was triggered by economic uncertainty, and it continued through the transfer in 1997.

“Cathay Pacific launched its first direct flights from Hong Kong to Vancouver which opened a bridge across the Pacific, leading thousands to their new home in BC,” said Wat. “Not only does it attract more people from Hong Kong to our province, it also opens doors for Canadians in Hong Kong.”

Currently, there are approximately 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, which is more than the population of Richmond.

“The relationship that exists between families and friends is one of our province’s strongest advantages,” she added.

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

(Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

New and improved major YVR routes 2016/2017

  • January 1, 2016: Orlando International Airport – WestJet to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • January 20, 2016: Orlando-Sanford International Airport – National Airlines to begin two times weekly seasonal flight service.
  • February 15, 2016: Cancun, Mexico – Air Canada to begin weekly, non-stop seasonal service.
  • May 1, 2016: London Heathrow Airport – British Airways to use an AirBus A380 superjumbo jet for its existing daily non-stop London Heathrow Airport service. The A380 will only be used during the summer months.
  • May 6, 2016: London Gatwick Airport – WestJet to begin six times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • May 9, 2016: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice daily, non-stop service to San Jose.
  • June 1, 2016: Brisbane, Australia – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop flight service.
  • June 2, 2016: San Diego International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop seasonal service.
  • June 4, 2016: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop service.
  • June 10, 2016: Dublin Airport – Air Canada to begin seasonal, three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • June 29, 2016: London, Ontario – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • June 29, 2016: Halifax, Nova Scotia – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • June 30, 2016: Hamilton, Ontario – WestJet to begin three times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • July 25, 2016: Xiamen, China – Xiamen Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • October 20, 2016: Delhi, India – Air Canada to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • December 1, 2016: Mexico City, Mexico – Aeromexico increases weekly flights from 14 to 20.
  • December 20, 2016: Nanjing, China – China Eastern Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • December 30, 2016: Hangzhou, China via Qingdao, China – Beijing Capital Airlines to begin three times weekly service.
  • February 5, 2017: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – Air Canada to begin daily service.
  • March 28, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Cathay Pacific increases weekly flights from 14 to 17.
  • May 1, 2017: Phoenix, Arizona – Air Canada to begin daily service.
  • May 18, 2017: Denver, Colorado – Air Canada to begin twice daily service.
  • June 1, 2017: Nagoya, Japan – Air Canada to begin seasonal three times weekly service.
  • June 8, 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – Air Canada to begin daily service.
  • June 23, 2017: Boston, Massachusetts – Air Canada to begin daily summer seasonal service.
  • June 30, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong Airlines to begin daily non-stop flight service.
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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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