Cathay freighter first to land on HKIA’s Runway 3

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Cathay freighter first to land on HKIA’s Runway 3
A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400F freighter from Shanghai makes historic landing on Hong Kong International Airport’s third runway. Photo from Cathay pacific website.
  • A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400F freighter from Shanghai makes historic landing on Hong Kong International Airport’s third runway
  • The landing was part of the operation familiarization on HKIA’s third runway
  • Construction of the HK$141.5 billion (US$18.3 billion) project began in 2016 to cope with the potential increase in air traffic

Cathay Pacific landed the very first commercial flight, a Boeing 747-400F freighter, on the new third runway of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on July 8.

The landing of flight CX3251 from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 08:27 local time was conducted as part of the operation familiarization on HKIA’s third runway, Cathay Pacific said in a press statement.

The first landing allows stakeholders from the aviation community to become familiar with the related operating procedures and collaborative arrangements on the newly completed runway, the Hong Kong flag carrier said.

“We are delighted to be the first airline to operate a commercial flight using the new third runway, and for that flight to be operated by the ‘Queen of the Skies’, one of our 747 freighters.” said Cathay Pacific chief executive Augustus Tang in a statement.

“Our freighter fleet has played a pivotal role in keeping essential supplies, notably vaccines and testing kits, moving between Hong Kong and the rest of the world throughout the pandemic.”

Tang expressed his appreciation to the Airport Authority Hong Kong, Civil Aviation Department and all other stakeholders involved in the operation familiarization for their assistance and support.

He said the commencement of the third runway is a milestone achievement for the Hong Kong international aviation hub that will greatly enhance its capacity and capability for handling passenger and cargo flights.

As an aviation hub, Hong Kong has a critical role to play in China’s development, as outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan, Tang said.

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“The growth potential afforded by the commencement of the three-runway system at HKIA, together with the opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area, will ensure that Cathay Pacific and our home hub will remain competitive for many years to come,” he said.

Construction of the HK$141.5 billion (US$18.3 billion) project began in 2016. Facing a projected increase in air traffic, the Airport Authority Hong Kong approved the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 on June 2, 2011.

The plan’s main project was to expand the existing airport infrastructure into a Three-Runway System to maintain HKIA’s position as a leading international and regional aviation hub.

Last year, HKIA was ranked the World’s Busiest Cargo Airport in 2021 by Airports Council International. The airport handled 5 million tons of cargo, representing 12.5% growth year on year.