June 22, 2009
Helium3 vs pilots
Post by Priscilla Chok
When three Cathay Pacific pilot-musicians entered a “Battle of the Bands” competition in 2007, they never imagined they would end up recording their own CD. The band is Helium3 and their first album, Skindeep – whose title comes from the group’s previous name – is already creating a buzz.
It’s a dream come true for pilots Nick Flavell, Mike Smith and Dave Belcastro who, with local journalist Brendan Delfino on drums, have worked hard to forge a name for themselves on the Hong Kong music scene. “With the encouragement we received in the competition we decided to record a CD of our own songs on our own terms,” says Nick, the band’s singer and main songwriter.
Their songs have already been getting airtime in the UK, Australia and the US. The band had four gigs in early June to launch the CD and will soon begin shooting a promotional video. None of the members is looking for fame and glory – and certainly not looking to give up their day jobs – but all have relished the opportunity to record.
Helium and pilots
“It’s been a great experience and I’d like to thank Nick Rhodes and Tony Tyler for giving us great support,” says Nick.
Christmas came early for the children of Chengdu when a Cathay Pacific cargo flight from North Carolina, carrying over 100 tonnes of shoebox gifts, landed in the earthquake-stricken city in early May.
The cargo team in the US worked with non-profit organisation Samaritan’s Purse to carry the 65,000 shoeboxes filled with toys and other gifts to provide some much-needed cheer to the children of Chengdu almost one year after the earthquake hit.
Cathay Pacific was also involved with Samaritan’s Purse immediately following the 2008 disaster, helping to fly a freighter-load of urgently needed supplies to Chengdu. We are proud to have been part of these two Chengdu charter flights as they are near and dear to my heart. We should not forget the importance of these two flights – helping those in need in China.
I would like to thank the entire team in the US, Head Office and the ground crew in Chengdu who helped to make these charters so successful. Thanks everyone!
By Manager Cargo, Midwest USA Douglas Wahl
June 3, 2009
Post by Priscilla Chok
A lot of research and planning goes into deciding where Cathay Pacific should fly. The Airline Planning department works with other key departments, as well as the travel industry, government bodies, tourism boards and airports around the world, to recommend how, when and where to fly – and how many flights.
Once the proposed destinations are endorsed, the Airline Planning department implements the changes and works with almost every department in Cathay Pacific to make the flights happen e.g. Flight Operations, Inflight Service Delivery, International Affairs etc. It’s very much a team effort.
I enjoy the whole process: from the initial feasibility studies to getting the involvement of all departments to make it work to finally seeing the route launched. It’s a lot like planting a seed, nurturing the plant and seeing it grow.
The most challenging part of my job is that what seems like an ideal network today may not be ideal tomorrow, especially given the dynamic changes in passenger trends and competitor activities. So we must ensure that our recommendations not only generate immediate revenue, but also enable us to realise future returns.
We always keep in mind the fact the business is an ongoing concern and that our choice of destinations should ensure the well-being of the company over the long term.
Manager Airline Planning
We launched Manage My Booking online, allowing all of our passengers – both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair – to see their booking details, view and change their contact information, and check any special requests that they’ve made. This is especially useful during any service disruption.
Now, you can
• view flight and booking information, including special requests; update personal information; and use Online Check-In;
• view accruable mileage;
• view and save e-ticket receipts;
• save itineraries to popular software calendars;
• link to redemption upgrades;
• show any booking-related messages;
• show any disruption messages and other travel information.
Phase two, scheduled for rollout in the third quarter, will allow passengers to make online meal requests and other special requests. Phase three will allow for even more service requests, including passenger alert services for waitlist confirmation or schedule changes.
Manager e-Business Lawrence Fong
May 8, 2009
Meet Our Team
Post by Ali Bullock
We’d like to invite you to meet some of the individuals who have made us the best airline in the world.
This week we launched the second phase of our campaign that puts our people and service into focus.
Since the first phase of our campaign was launched, we were voted Best Airline in the World in the Skytrax survey of over 16.2 million airline passengers, so this is a great opportunity to introduce the people who helped us win this prestigious award for the third time in ten years.
We’ve created a special webpage where our staff share their thoughts, both as members of the Cathay Pacific team and as individuals. We feature photographs of each person on- and off-duty, and they talk about their lives, their interests, what led them to Cathay Pacific and how they feel about what they do for our passengers.
Their stories are hosted on a campaign site that you can see here. We will continue to update the site with new stories, so please come back every once in a while.
The TVCs and a “Making of…” video for the first phase of the campaign can be found here.
We’d love to hear what you think.
First and Business Class passengers will soon be sampling dishes prepared by members of the National Culinary Team of the Hong Kong Chefs Association. From May to October 2009, a selection of Western appetisers, entrees and desserts prepared by the team will be offered on selected flights.
The team brought home gold and silver medals at the 22nd IKA International Culinary Olympics in Germany last October. Brendan Duffy, Catering Manager Planning and Concept Design, said: “We are always looking for ways to keep the inflight menu fresh. Cathay Pacific sponsored the flights for the team to attend the Culinary Olympics, so we decided to extend our relationship by working with them to create a number of dishes we thought would be exciting and different for passengers to try.”
Team captain and Igor Group Corporate Chef Angelo McDonnell said, “Over 100 dishes were proposed and about 60 were eventually selected. The dishes are essentially the same as we originally envisioned, although some changes had to be made to suit the inflight environment.”
Added Brendan Duffy, “In terms of presentation, we also considered the need to reproduce the dishes on a daily basis.”
On board, passengers will receive a menu card with details of the promotion and the dishes being served on their flight.
The just-launched CX Mobile application takes advantage of the capabilities of modern “smart phones” to give customers a range of useful features that enable a smoother experience when travelling on Cathay Pacific.
The application works on all major smart phone brands including the iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile (with support for the latest Nokias and Sony Ericssons).
Passengers can use the application to check flight arrivals and departures, check-in for their flights, read about the place they are flying to using City Guides, and access all mobile services at m.cathaypacific.com.
CX Mobile was trialed during the Hong Kong Sevens in March and the feedback received was taken into account before the full release.
Click here to access the download site.
In his 19 years at Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, KA Head of Engineering Darryl Chan (pictured below left with his team) has seen his fair share of changes as both airlines moved with the times. Nothing has had a greater impact on the Engineering Department than the changes in the technology available for engineers to service aircraft. “We are doing a lot more with less resources but also doing it better,” Darryl says. “What was once very labour-intensive is now supported by IT systems. We now make informed decisions based on what IT systems or our IT partners are telling us – that is the main advantage that new technology and processes has brought us.”
Darryl began his CX career as a trainee in 1986, before joining full-time in 1990. Since then, he has held the positions of Technical Services Manager (Boeing), Manager Aircraft Engineering, and Manager Engineering Planning. He was appointed Head of Engineering for KA in August 2008. “The fleet has also grown across the three companies, and it’s a challenge to service all the aircraft,” Darryl says. “My favourite aircraft to work on is the Boeing 777. In the early days, I was part of the ‘entry into service team’ and it set the benchmark as to how new aircraft types are managed.” Darryl says he is lucky because his personal passion is also planes. “I was with the air cadets, as well. I even used to do plane spotting!” He smiles.
“I also like gadgets. In fact, I think I was one of the first people in CX Engineering to bring in what was then called a ‘luggable’ – a laptop the size of a small suitcase. Even now people stop and ask me what gadgets they should buy.”
Darryl (on the left) and his team
We had just about recovered from Hong Kong Sevens (you can read more about it in earlier posts) and the launch of our latest marketing campaign (click here) when we got the great news…
We’ve been named Airline of the Year in the Skytrax 2009 World Airline Awards – the third time in ten years that we’ve won. We were also named Best Airline Asia. The survey was conducted between August 2008 and March 2009.
Skytrax Chief Executive Officer Edward Plaisted said: “In a global study that proved to be our largest-ever passenger survey, it is truly a great achievement for Cathay Pacific to have secured the world’s best airline title in 2009. With over 16.2 million completed interviews, drawn from more than 97 nationalities around the world, we pay credit to the fact that Cathay Pacific is clearly delivering a quality of product and service that its customers really appreciate.”
Our chief executive Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “We are delighted to once again be named Airline of the Year in the Skytrax awards. This award is very meaningful because it was voted for by the travelling public and it’s a real tribute to the dedication and professionalism shown by our whole team. At Cathay Pacific we have worked hard to develop a world-class international network from our Hong Kong home, offering passengers top-notch products and the best service in the air, and it’s very pleasing to receive this kind of global recognition.” (Click here for full press release)
I wish we could take all our readers on board to show you why we won, but the next best thing we can recommend is trying the Cathay Pacific Experience at www.cathaypacific.aero that we created.
This week we are launching a new campaign that puts our people and service in focus – and why not? Our passengers consistently tell us that it’s our people and the exceptional service they deliver that sets Cathay Pacific apart from other airlines.
Another reason for the campaign is to recognise the contributions of our staff who consistently go the extra mile to make sure our passengers enjoy an exceptional travel experience – which, in turn, helps us in achieving our goal of being the best airline in the world.
To make the campaign come alive, we have four stories that we are telling in our television commercials that you can see here, along with “The making of…” video. And our print campaign features five stories inspired by real-life events.
There will also be a later phase of the campaign that I will update you on separately. If you have any question or comments, I would love to hear them. Just send me an email or write me a comment.