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14 Oct 2007
Tung Chung Residents Take to the Skies as Cathay Pacific Operates Unique Community Flight

Cathay Pacific Airways today operated a special flight that took 170 residents from Tung Chung into the skies over Hong Kong for an experience they will never forget. The participants ranged in age from three to 77, and most had never had the thrill of taking a flight before.

Guest of honour for this unique community flight, operated on Cathay Pacific's new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, was Ms Eva Cheng JP, Secretary for Transport and Housing in the HKSAR Government. Host for the occasion was Cathay Pacific Chairman Christopher Pratt, who was present at Hong Kong International Airport in the morning to welcome the special passengers on board.

"We are delighted to invite so many families and friends from Tung Chung on this special community flight. As Hong Kong's home carrier we are always keen to show our support for the community - and especially the community of Tung Chung, which shares this part of Lantau that we call home. Particular thanks go to the Islands District Office and the Tung Chung Safe and Healthy City organisation for their help in making today's event a reality," said Mr Pratt.

Speaking before the flight's departure, Ms Cheng said: "I am very pleased to join everyone for this meaningful trip today and look forward to sharing this unique flying experience with 50 Tung Chung families onboard Cathay Pacific's first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

"Aviation is a major contributor to Hong Kong's economy and the airport provides around 60,000 jobs. I am sure many of the Tung Chung residents here today work in the airport neighbourhood and I do believe this event will inspire more young people from Tung Chung to seek work in this exciting and fast-growing industry."

Today's flight marked a continuation of Cathay Pacific's involvement in the life of Tung Chung since the airline moved into its corporate headquarters close to Hong Kong International Airport in 1998. Mr Pratt said Cathay Pacific and the Swire Group have played an important part in providing employment and neighbourhood facilities in the area, having invested some HK$12 billion over the past decade.

"We have over recent years joined hands with our friends and neighbours in Tung Chung on a number of community initiatives," Mr Pratt said. "Our aim is to help provide job opportunities and bring cohesion and pride to the local community. For example, our airline catering arm has partnered with a local NGO to offer 70 part-time jobs for women in Tung Chung, and our Group is working with another local NGO to set up a food processing plant."

Mr Pratt said there are other initiatives in mind, including a programme for Tung Chung teenagers to brush up their English-language skills helped by native English speakers from the airline. This programme will also help expose the teenagers to the career opportunities that abound in the aviation industry in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific worked with 10 non-governmental organisations to select the residents to join today's flight, many of whom have been active in community work in the district. The 90-minute flight took them over the South China Sea and gave everyone the opportunity to enjoy the facilities on board the airline's new arrival. Passengers were served food and drinks by Cathay Pacific cabin crew and had the chance to try out the state-of-the-art new seats and sophisticated inflight entertainment featured on the aircraft.

The new Boeing 777-300ER will form the backbone of Cathay Pacific's long-haul fleet, with 23 being delivered to the airline by 2011. The first five will arrive this year, all equipped with Cathay Pacific's new three-class long-haul product, and will be put to work on enhancing services on key ultra-long-haul destinations in North America. The aircraft are highly efficient, allowing the airline to carry a bigger payload over longer distances, with a significant reduction in flight times and fuel burn.

Photos are available to download as part of this release from the Press Room
in the About Us section of the Cathay Pacific's website