Major international airline marks 30 years at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario

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Published June 11, 2024 at 2:16 pm

Cathay Pacific three decades at Pearson in Mississauga.

A major airline based on the other side of the globe that’s been recognized as the world’s third-best carrier is marking three decades of flights into and out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific launched one-stop flight service between that major city and Pearson on June 9, 1994, airline officials noted in a news release this week.

In a post to social media earlier today, Pearson officials also marked the occasion of the airline’s 30th anniversary of operating flights to and from Toronto, saying “with four additional weekly arrivals and departures this summer, Cathay Pacific continues to grow at Pearson.”

Cathay Pacific, last month named world’s third-best airline by AirlineRatings.com (Qatar Airways was first, Korean Air second), flew a Boeing 747-400 into Pearson via Anchorage, Alaska in June 1994 to kickstart its business relationship with Canada’s biggest and busiest airport.

“The launch of this one-stop service between Hong Kong and Toronto Pearson International Airport came 11 years after the launch of non-stop Vancouver-Hong Kong services, which celebrated 40 years in 2023,” Cathay Pacific officials said.

The Pearson-Hong Kong service began with three flights per week in each direction, the airline noted, stopping in Anchorage for refueling.
“Groundbreaking at the time, this flight was the quickest and most convenient way to travel between the two cities, at 16.5 hours eastbound, and 18.5 hours westbound,” officials added.

Cathay Pacific celebrated 30 years flying into and out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga this week. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Interestingly, a spokesperson for the carrier said, Cathay Pacific operated non-stop flights between Hong Kong and Pearson for a period in late 1994, taking advantage of “favourable westerly winds for a few months.”

The brief non-stop service cut the flight time down to about 13 hours, 45 minutes.

“For the first non-stop flight from Toronto, it was the first time that an Airbus aircraft had made a commercial trans-polar crossing,” Cathay Pacific said.

Chris van den Hooven, the airline’s senior vice-president, Americas, said the larger aircraft had a huge impact on international travel three decades and longer ago.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, the Boeing 747 enabled Cathay Pacific to expand its international presence throughout the world and, indeed, in Canada,” van den Hooven said. “Prior to Cathay Pacific’s one-stop service from Hong Kong to Toronto, passengers would have had to change aircraft at least once. The ‘Queen of the Skies’ put Cathay Pacific on the map and helped propel us into the world-class global carrier that we are today.”

Kurush Minocher, Pearson’s executive director, customer experience and airline relations, applauded the Asian airline for its commitment to linking long-term with Toronto.

“Our longstanding partnership underscores our commitment to successful partnerships with carriers and we look forward to further strengthening our ties with Cathay Pacific,” Minocher said.

Hong Kong’s Tourism Board said the carrier has “served as a bridge between Hong Kong and Toronto, connecting two dynamic cities with its distinguished fleet and award-winning services.”

Cathay Pacific currently operates 14 flights each week from Pearson to Hong Kong, plus 10 weekly flights from Vancouver.
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