Source: Cathay Pacific
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways will resume using Russian airspace for some of its flights to save on time.
According to Reuters, the airline had said in March that it was not routing flights through Russia’s airspace following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite that move resulting in longer flight times.
Beginning Tuesday, Cathay Pacific will start flying from New York to Hong Kong using the popular “Polar Route,” which will overfly the far eastern part of Russia, the airline told Reuters in an email.
According to SimpleFlying, Cathay Pacific’s use of the Polar Route will cut flight times by nearly two hours from New York to Hong Kong and over an hour on the way back.
“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,” the airline reassured, adding that no sanctions prevented it from doing so.
The Polar Route “allows the airline to maximize the number of passengers and checked baggage carried onboard,” Cathay said in a statement reported by Bloomberg. “It also eliminates the need for a technical stop in another city for a change of aircrew as necessitated by mandated flight time limitations.”
According to Bloomberg, Russian airspace spans 5,600 miles (9,012 kilometers) adjacent from the eastern fringes of Asia and the US state of Alaska to the tip of northern Europe in Finland. Russia closed its airspace to European and US airlines this year.