Cathay Pacific To Start Flying A350 to Tel Aviv

While I have had my fair shares of criticism regarding Cathay Pacific, you can’t deny that they have one of the most comfortable products in the air as of right now. One of my highlights this year on the aviation front was flying their A350 from Taipei to Hong Kong in June, which I’m excited to see flying longhaul.

IMG_0567Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class

IMG_0574Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Premium Economy

Some routes that Cathay Pacific is already flying with the A350 are Dusseldorf and London Gatwick, with Auckland, Rome and Paris to follow really shortly (actually, Auckland and Rome are transitioning as of next Monday).

IMG_0762Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Hong Kong Airport

As of March 26th, 2017, Cathay Pacific is adding Tel Aviv to their network, and will start four-times-weekly service from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv on their A350 aircraft. As of now the only airline flying between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv is El Al, so I’m excited to see one of Cathay Pacific’s state-of-the-art aircraft running this route.

img_2205El Al Boeing 777-200 Hong Kong Airport

This will be one of the “long and thin” routes that Cathay Pacific plans to operate with their A350, which otherwise would have been most sensibly operated by a gas-guzzling A340.

Their press release had this to say:

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: “We are excited to be launching a direct link to Tel Aviv, which has established itself as a culturally rich and technologically-advanced business capital. As an important market in the Belt and Road initiative, Israel offers tremendous potential for business and leisure travel. Together with the recent launch of our Madrid and Gatwick operations, this new service to Tel Aviv reflects our commitment to growing the Cathay Pacific network and further strengthening Hong Kong’s position as one of the world’s great international aviation hubs.”

The new service, which will be operated by Cathay Pacific’s state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft, will provide greater convenience for business and leisure customers travelling between the two cities and give passengers travelling from Israel easier access to key destinations in Asia and Southwest Pacific through the airline’s hub in Hong Kong.

Tel Aviv is Israel’s largest commercial and technological hub and is recognised as one of the world’s leading financial centres. Often described as “the city that never stops”, the coastal metropolis lies within easy reach of ancient Jerusalem, and each year draws millions of leisure travellers from around the world thanks to its diverse culture, thriving arts scene and renowned nightlife.

It’s worth noting that this will be another Cathay Pacific route that features WiFi, which I may start to find increasing valuable on a flight as I get busier these days. The entire flight, blocked at 11 hours and 40 minutes eastbound and 10 hours and 20 minutes westbound, will be powered at WiFi costing US$19.95 (~HK$155), whereas you can get WiFi for an hour at US$9.95 (~HK$77).

image3
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 WiFi Prices

The flight won’t even touch India during the course of eleven hours, so expect uninterrupted WiFi from about three hours into the flight. It might even be even longer of a time if China manages to lift their WiFi ban for Cathay Pacific as they requested.

The flight timings will be as follows over the summer:

Cathay Pacific 675 01:00 – 07:40 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun (11 h 40 min)
Cathay Pacific 674 13:50 – 05:10+1 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun (10 h 20 min)

And as follows over the winter:

Cathay Pacific 675 01:00 – 07:00 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun (11 h)
Cathay Pacific 674 12:45 – 05:15+1 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun (10 h 30 min)

map

Bottom Line

Overall I really can’t see how this route doesn’t make sense, so I only have positive things to say about their network expansion to Tel Aviv. I don’t see myself making it to Tel Aviv anytime soon, unfortunately, so in terms of trying to fly the Cathay Pacific A350 longhaul I’ll stick to going for Dusseldorf or London Gatwick. The flight is bookable, though, if you’re not like me (the introductory fares aren’t super-attractive, though).

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-7-33-02-pm

Kudos to Cathay Pacific for expanding their network, though!

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