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Chicago Welcomes Inaugural Around-the-World Freighter Flight

Airline increases local operations staffing by 33 percent to handle new flights

CHICAGO (July 9, 2010) – Cathay Pacific Cargo is heading a new direction today. Quite literally.

The airline’s first ever trans-Atlantic flight departs Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport at 4:50 p.m. CDT en route to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dubai, United Arab Emirates and then home to Hong Kong. It will have arrived Chicago from Hong Kong via Anchorage, Alaska, making it the airline’s first around-the-world flight as well.

The airline has spent months developing the new route, which will initially be operated twice weekly, every Friday and Sunday (when departures will be at 10:50 p.m. CDT), using a Boeing 747-400 freighter. Cathay Pacific already offers eight trans-Pacific freighter flights a week to Hong Kong from Chicago, providing traditional cargo services plus specialty services such as pharmaceutical and live animal handling.

“Chicago is a great gateway for this service and we expect the flights to do quite well,” said Stephen Wong, Cathay Pacific’s vice president for cargo, Americas. “We’ll be helping businesses from throughout the Midwest get their products to markets in Europe and the Middle East.”

Early demand for space on the new service is meeting expectations. Cathay Pacific expects to be carrying significant quantities of building materials to the Middle East, including product bound for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Into Amsterdam, where there has been insufficient cargo capacity to meet demand for some time, the airline expects to carry computers, fabric, pharmaceuticals and livestock.

Cathay Pacific is increasing its locally based cargo operations team by 33 percent to handle the new flights. Two new agents and a new supervisor will bring the cargo team to 12. Two locally based Cathay Pacific engineers provide maintenance support for the flights as well.

“Now, whether your cargo needs are westbound or eastbound, Cathay Pacific Cargo merits serious consideration given our expanded services,” said Douglas Wahl, Cathay Pacific’s locally based cargo manager. “We can also arrange charters for customers who need service beyond our regularly scheduled flights.”

Cathay Pacific has been working hard to strengthen its services to and from Hong Kong in response to the recent global upswing in airfreight markets, and has just last week increased its weekly freighter service to Miami and Houston to four and five flights, respectively.

The airline is also reinforcing its commitment to the continued development of Hong Kong as a leading international air cargo hub through the construction of its own new cargo terminal and the continued expansion of its freighter fleet.

Development of the HK$5.5 billion (approximately US$705 million) Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International is now underway, with the facility set to come into operation in 2013. The airline will add to its existing fleet by bringing online 10 Boeing 747-8F freighters on firm order with deliveries set to commence in January 2011.

In addition to Chicago, Houston and Miami, Cathay Pacific Cargo also offers freighter service to Hong Kong from Anchorage, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. Within North America, Cathay Pacific also operates passenger aircraft with daily service to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.