As a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, most European airlines have been rerouting flights around Russia, as heightened alerts have made for dangerous conditions. However, many Asian airlines had never stopped flying over the Eurasian country, mainly due to political ties. Cathay Pacific was one of the airlines that halted flights in March. Now, almost eight months later, flight CX841 from New York to Hong Kong became the first Cathay Pacific flight to fly over Russia.
Benefits of Flying Over Russia
Besides cutting flight times from the far east to Europe and North America by two hours on average, the shorter distance between Hong Kong and Cathay's farther destinations allows for a higher load factor on these flights, as much less fuel needs to be used.
When asked about overflying the sanctioned country, a Cathay Pacific representative stated, "...The Polar Route provides a safe, direct, and the fastest flight experience to our customers traveling from the East Coast of North America to Hong Kong". While some countries have banned their airlines from flying over Russia (and sometimes even flying near Russian airspace), Cathay Pacific was not affected by this.
Cathay Pacific is currently near the end of its transition from an airline racked by COVID restrictions, as it has been able to increase its load factors and decrease its fuel costs. Overflying Russia could help Cathay recover even faster, allowing it to reclaim its spot with the top airlines in the world.
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