bens
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Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:58 pm

I wonder if non-stop flights between Europe and Hong Kong were routed over Soviet and Chinese airspace during the 1980s.

(I am not a flight expert but a PhD student in economics and I am studying these flights for a research project. I would be very thankful for any relevant input!)

Background:
The Soviet and Chinese airspace was very restricted during this time and few airlines were granted non-stop overflight rights. From studying old ABC timetables from 1980 to 1989 at the British Library I found that in 1984, CX was the first airline to introduce a non-stop flight between Europe and Hong Kong. This was a non-stop flight from London to HK, non-stop HK to London was introduced the year after. CX also added Frankfurt-HK and Rome-HK in 1986. LH started flying Frankfurt-HK in 1986. BA/BR started flying London-HK in 1987. While I know this, I do not know how these non-stop flights were routed. I am fairly certain that all airlines must have entered Chinese airspace at some point but I have some sources that seem to indicate that CX initially avoided Soviet airspace. Other than that, I have no information when these airlines gained Chinese and Soviet overflight rights and how these routes might have evolved.
 
timz
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:33 pm

How much longer was the schedule flight time circa 1984, compared to later?
 
bens
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:33 pm

Unfortunately I was not aware of those detour routes when I was in London and I did not collect that data then. I thought as a last resort, I could go back and compare scheduled flight times.
 
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FCOTSTW
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:52 pm

A few years earlier, in 1977, I flew BA FCO-MCT-DEL-HKG on a flight that originated in LHR. I then flew back returned from BKK to FCO via BOM.
AFAIK, this is a route that BA has kept throughout the 80s from LHR to HKG, sometimes changing the stopovers, but always through flying to FCO first.
Similarly, JL flew throughout the 80s from NRT to ATH through a never ending milk run through Southern Asia (unfortunately, I do not recall the stops.

Bottom line, in the 80s airlines mainly flew the "silk route" to HKG.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:09 pm

Pilots: those of you who have flown in/out/over the People's Republic can verify this, but there are VERY limited numbers of options of overflying both China and Russia. For many years, as I recall, Chinese controllers wouldn't hand off a flight to Russian controllers, and vice-versa. Everything had to go through Mongolia, and even that had only one major routing. Hong Kong routes in the 1980's skirted south around China, and in the days of the "milk-run" flights, Hong Kong was a stop on the route.
 
bzcat
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:02 pm

I'm pretty sure the original CX HKG-LHR routing went thru BKK control so they took the southern route via India, never entering Chinese air space.

It wasn't until the late 1980s or maybe even early 1990s that CX got to overfly Western China.
 
xtra1
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:13 pm

They used to take a southerly route (1990s?), over the Middle-East and the north of India; skirting the Chinese border.
I remember a Cathay flight that apparently strayed into Syrian airspace and was forced to land in Damascus. This flight was then not allow to take-off again; until Cathay paid landings fees, in cash. The captain had to ask the passengers to help with the cash gathering!
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:53 pm

bzcat wrote:
I'm pretty sure the original CX HKG-LHR routing went thru BKK control so they took the southern route via India, never entering Chinese air space.

It wasn't until the late 1980s or maybe even early 1990s that CX got to overfly Western China.


Cathay Pacific started London operations in 1980 with LGW as their original airport not LHR.

BKK was never part of the airlines HKG to LON flights it was BAH.

Cathay Pacific inaugurated HKG-BAH-LGW on the 19 July 1980 with B747-200.
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Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:03 pm

bens wrote:
I wonder if non-stop flights between Europe and Hong Kong were routed over Soviet and Chinese airspace during the 1980s.

(I am not a flight expert but a PhD student in economics and I am studying these flights for a research project. I would be very thankful for any relevant input!)

Background:
The Soviet and Chinese airspace was very restricted during this time and few airlines were granted non-stop overflight rights. From studying old ABC timetables from 1980 to 1989 at the British Library I found that in 1984, CX was the first airline to introduce a non-stop flight between Europe and Hong Kong. This was a non-stop flight from London to HK, non-stop HK to London was introduced the year after. CX also added Frankfurt-HK and Rome-HK in 1986. LH started flying Frankfurt-HK in 1986. BA/BR started flying London-HK in 1987. While I know this, I do not know how these non-stop flights were routed. I am fairly certain that all airlines must have entered Chinese airspace at some point but I have some sources that seem to indicate that CX initially avoided Soviet airspace. Other than that, I have no information when these airlines gained Chinese and Soviet overflight rights and how these routes might have evolved.


BA British Airways had been flying to Hong Kong RAF Kai Tak for many years long before 1987!

Throughout the fifties right up until 1980 the Hong Kong flights were routed through various destinations in the Middle East, India and Southern Asia.

From 1980 British Airways flew LHR to HKG via either AUH/BAH/DXB with B747-200 and on some schedules the L10-500.

BR British Caledonian Airways inaugurated LGW-DXB-HKG on the 25 July 1980 initially with DC10-30 but the route was soon upguaged to the B747.

CX Cathay Pacific inaugurated HKG-BAH-LGW on the 16 July 1980 with B747-200.

CX Cathay Pacific inaugurated a second daily flight in 1983 with an evening departure Ex LGW at 18.00 operating 4 times weekly in addition to the airlines existing daily flight that departed LGW at 11.00.

A direct non stop HKG to LGW flight was inaugurated in 1984 after the airline took delivery of the B747-300.

From 1984 after the delivery of the B747-300 Cathay Pacific flew twice daily from HKG to LGW one via BAH the other non stop.

When CX purchased the B747-400 in 1989 HKG to LGW then went non stop, CX moved their London flights to LHR in September 1991.
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DGVT
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:42 pm

Cunard, it seems you have quite some knowledge of the topic.
Did the nonstop flight from HK go through or bypass southern China? I assume Vietnam and Laos were ok to overfly?
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:04 pm

The non stop flights took a southerly route avoiding Chinese airspace and I'm assuming over Vietnam and the former indo China countries but the flight time was approximately 12 hours non stop so the flights must have gone very close to the Chinese airspace at times but obviously avoiding it.

The Chinese government were relaxing parts of their airspace towards the late eighties and early nineties which allowed some of their southern airspace open to commercial aviation from foreign airlines with lots of restrictions though, this is because the Chinese government wanted their own CAAC flights from Beijing to LGW, CDG and FRA to go non stop thus avoiding their own stop en route at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

What was strange that even after a deal was done that allowed CX and BA overflight rights in Chinese airspace CAAC still continued with their stop at Sharjah enroute to Europe, although that was omitted in 1995 by which time the flight was a non stop to LHR after CAAC had transferred their LGW operations to LHR in 1992.
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mdavies06
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:35 pm

No information about the 1980s. However, during the early-to-mid 90s the routing AFAIK for all flights were using the same airways that are in use today for HK-Delhi/Middle East flights i.e. overflying Southwestern part of China.

In 1996, HKG based carriers given rights to fly 3 new routes over Western and Northern China for European routes (Y1 and A461), which reduced flight time to London by at least 2 hours.

https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive ... 01590.html

I recall taking flights using Y1 and A461 starting from the late 1990s.
 
jmchevallier
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:58 pm

For a long time, BA enjoyed exclusivity rights on the London-HKG route. CX had to put a very strong case to break that exclusive rights and the first B747s were purchased for that route (CX before was operating L-1011 and a few old B707).

As mentioned above, BR was granted traffic rights to HKG at the same time as CX, operating DC10-30. Both BR and CX operated out of LGW, BA saveguarding LHR exclusivity.

All these fligths were doing at the time refueling stops in the Middle East, at either BAH, DXB, AUH.
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:29 pm

jmchevallier wrote:
For a long time, BA enjoyed exclusivity rights on the London-HKG route. CX had to put a very strong case to break that exclusive rights and the first B747s were purchased for that route (CX before was operating L-1011 and a few old B707).

As mentioned above, BR was granted traffic rights to HKG at the same time as CX, operating DC10-30. Both BR and CX operated out of LGW, BA saveguarding LHR exclusivity.

All these fligths were doing at the time refueling stops in the Middle East, at either BAH, DXB, AUH.


British Caledonian Airways and Laker Airways battled with the UK Government of the day for rights to fly to Hong Kong which they saw as a domestic route seeing that Hong Kong was a British dependencey.

Laker Airways application was rejected but the CAA granted British Caledonian Airways route authority for LGW to HKG on the 19 March 1980.

So in the end it was just British Caledonian Airways that was was awarded route authority for a three times weekly LGW to HKG route that started on the 20 July 1980 with the first flight being conducted by the airlines 6th DC10-30 G-BHDI named ''Robert the Bruce-Scottish Warrior'' arriving at Hong Kong's Kai Tak the following day on the 21 July 1980.

British Caledonian Airways initially used the DC10-30 on LGW to HKG but the route was soon upgauged to a B747 once the airline received it's second example G-HUGE.

Cathay Pacific being based in the British dependency of Hong Kong and being majority owned by the British John Swire took offence to the fact that they were not allowed to be in the bidding for flights between HKG and London even though they too took the case that they were actually a British airline because of the fact that they were based in Hong Kong.

After some aggressive pleading and negotiations by the government of Hong Kong to the British Department of Trade Cathay Pacific were quickly given route authority to start direct flights from HKG to LGW along with British Caledonian Airways and matching them with initially the three weekly flights using the airlines brand new RR powered B742's.

Cathay Pacific wanted to beat BCAL in flying from HKG to LGW and the airlines inaugural flight was on the 16 July 1980 arriving into LGW the following morning on the 17 July 1980.

As I've already mentioned in my previous posts CX was HKG-BAH-LGW and BR was LGW-DXB-HKG.

''I was on the spectators balcony at LGW on that hot summers day of 17 July 1980 which was a Thursday IIRC and it was packed with aviation enthusiasts eager to see their first ever CX aircraft''.

This was to be Cathay Pacific first intercontinental route and this was the very start to their full international expansion as previously their network was based around Southeast Asia.

So from the 16 July 1980 British Airways longstanding monopoly on London to Hong Kong came to an end and in fact that competition turned out to benefit not only British Airways but the whole market which subsequently grew with three carriers serving the route, it only took a year and both BCAL and Cathay Pacific were almost flying the route on a daily basis.

At the time that BR and CX were awarded route authority to fly from LGW British Airways was already flying one stop flights from LHR to HKG via various points in the Middle East including AUH, BAH, DXB.

Look at how the market has grown since then and now Cathay Pacific is market leader and the fact that Hong Kong is no longer a British dependency hasn't diminished the growth.

British Caledonian Airways and Laker Airways found themselves in a similar battle with the United Kingdom's CAA a couple of years later in 1982 for permission to gain route authority to be able to fly from LGW to Australia but that's another story for another thread which seems worth starting but as I know all what needs to be known regarding that story I won't bother myself :-)
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bens
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:38 pm

Thank you all for the replies to my question! I am truly amazed by how much people seem to know about such a specific topic. As I am primarily interested in changes on routes between Europe and HK during the latter half of the 80s I conclude the following:

1. Some routes to HK overflew Soviet airspace prior to 1996 judging by the article mdavies06 linked to. Thanks!

2. Based on my previous research I think that the route over Soviet airspace should not have been permitted before JAL was allowed to fly non-stop between London and Tokyo over Soviet airspace in 1985, (the route was opened the year after). I think I remember reading somewhere that this was the first flight by a non-soviet airline that was not forced to make a stopover in Soviet territory, typically Moscow.

3. Even though the Chinese airspace was limited it seems that this airspace was not avoided completely. I base this conclusion partly on a map in book by REG Davies. While the map is not incredibly detailed it seems like all CX routes to HK from Europe passed at least north of Hainan, meaning that CX always briefly flew over Chinese airspace.

Finally I wonder if the Sino–British Joint Declaration signed in 1984, which determined Hong Kong's status after 1997, might have affected air traffic to Hong Kong. It should at least have improved the relationship between Britain and China and removed a lot of uncertainty of future operations for CX.
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:24 pm

I think that your analysis in your very last paragraph is spot on, I think that you've nailed it.

Although I might not have totally helped with the answers to what you were actually looking for but hopefully it has given you some insight into operations on the London to Hong Kong route during the 1980's a subject that's very personal to me hence my in depth analysis in my posts.

Good luck with what your doing :-)
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OzarkD9S
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:11 pm

Cunard wrote:

This was to be Cathay Pacific first intercontinental route and this was the very start to their full international expansion as previously their network was based around Southeast Asia.



CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?
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LHRBFSTrident
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:44 pm

I used to fly London-Hong Kong with BA regularly on the "school bus' during my teenage years 1985-1990 and I remember - maybe a bit fuzzily - some aspects of that experience

In regards to routing, one of my HKG-LHR (1989?) non-stops passed overhead Kunming, PRC on the way, as well as Tashkent ( or Dushanbe?) - both the latter then-Soviet cities were displayed on the IFE and for a Cold War era teenager, overflying both the PRC and the USSR on 1 flight was pretty mind-blowing. Kunming was definitely mentioned in the Captain's pre-departure PA when the routing was discussed; the others I remember because I had only read about them in books: pre-internet...

I can't remember if BA started n/s service to HKG with the 747-236Bs with RB211-524D4 engines, or if they waited until the 747-436 with RB211-535Gs (-535H?)

Those flights were certainly a bit of a sh*tshow for the crew - 60+ ex-pat children on their way back to boarding school after a summer of fun in SE Asia, mainly in E-zone made for a rather rowdy experience. Clearly remember the additional crew-rest 'hut' installed in the rear of E-zone replacing some centre rows of seats - this was when a 12-hr non-stop flight was extremely rare, let alone 13 or 14 hours. There appeared to be additional crew members on that flight - BA used to have a Flying Nanny service at the time, and at times there were 5-6 uniformed BA staff just in E-zone.

I flew ex-BR G-HUGE LGW-DXB-HKG one time after the merger - I think it was in all-pax config then but not entirely certain. As late as 1989, BA was still making stops in BOM for its second daily LHR flight (may have alternated with DEL) and only 1 flight each day was n/s.

FWIW - the government of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong used to publish and annual Civil Aviation Report which I used to go and collect from the government publications office in Central or Wan Chai every summer - it listed all the route applications made during the year, I have copies of 1987, '88 and '89 but they are in deep storage somewhere in the UK, but hopefully there might be versions available online somewhere: it's an AV geeks' treasure trove ;)

Off topic but mentioned upthread: in regards to Europe-NRT flights overflying the USSR, when the Soviets allowed overflying BA and JL changed their routing to eliminate the ANC refuelling stop. IIRC the Soviet government was more than happy to have an additional source of hard currency (ATC fees, etc) but with the proviso that a certain number of flights each week stopped at SVO - I think 3 each week for each airline. That was a huge improvement over the daily ANC stop - though I don't remember what happened to Osaka flights at that time...
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
Cunard wrote:

This was to be Cathay Pacific first intercontinental route and this was the very start to their full international expansion as previously their network was based around Southeast Asia.



CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?


Yes they did and I realised that after my post but it was too late for me to edit it, I find that so annoying on a.net that the time period allowed for editing is so short.

I hadn't mentioned it because no one had picked up on it plus it wasn't really part of the actual discussion so yes you are correct.

Cathay Pacific actually started operations between Hong Kong and Sydney in the mid to late fifties with Lockheed Constellation in competition with Qantas who were also using the Constellation.

When Qantas received their B707s and subsequently put the aircraft on the Sydney to Hong Kong route Cathay Pacific couldn't compete with the more modern aircraft compared to their own Constellations so therefore ceased operations to Sydney.

A regional flight from Hong Kong to Darwin Australia operated for a short period using their CV880's.

In 1971 Cathay Pacific purchased 4 former Northwest Orient B707-320C's from Boeing with the wide body interior and restarted Hong Kong to Sydney, Cathay Pacific went onto purchasing a further 7 former Northwest Orient B707C's from Boeing giving the airline a total of 11.

Cathay Pacific received their first L10-11's in 1975 and eventually had 19 examples and at one time were the largest operator of the type outside of the USA, they had all been retired from the fleet by 1996.

Their first RR powered B742 arrived in June 1980.
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OzarkD9S
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:31 am

Cunard wrote:
OzarkD9S wrote:
Cunard wrote:

This was to be Cathay Pacific first intercontinental route and this was the very start to their full international expansion as previously their network was based around Southeast Asia.



CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?


Yes they did and I realised that after my post but it was too late for me to edit it, I find that so annoying on a.net that the time period allowed for editing is so short.

I hadn't mentioned it because no one had picked up on it plus it wasn't really part of the actual discussion so yes you are correct.


Yes, the edit time is too short sometimes. Your knowledge on UK routing history is usually spot on.
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Unclekoru
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:05 am

Taken from an article in Australian Aviation's March/April 1989 edition. Some interesting information in the article.

"The flight departs Hong Kong and heads southwest over China passing close to the North Vietnamese border region on it's course towards Burma and Calcutta before vectoring across northern India to pass south of Delhi and onwards to Pakistan. The flight then heads northeast to cross into Afghanistan and ultimately the USSR to pass south of Moscow before heading west towards the Baltic Sea, across Denmark, Belgium and eventually into London Gatwick. It is interesting to note that if the flight followed the great circle track, it's distance would only be 5,200nm or 1,037nm less than it actually is"

"The flight cannot presently follow this routing though as both the PRC and the USSR forbid aircraft to enter their airspace from either country without first approaching from a neutral nation"

"...Cathay presently has it's -200Bs using the more powerful D4 engines flying this sector as the lessor thrust -300 aircraft simply cannot uplift sufficient fuel to feed their thirstier engines for the distance involved..."

"For the London non-stop, Cathay use the -200s full 833,000lb max takeoff weight capability with absolute maximum fuel capacity. In summer the carrier still uplifts it's maximum available passenger load while offloading freight as the situation requires"


Source: Australian Aviation March/April 1989 edition. Article by Jim Thorn.
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EmoticonsAllDay
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:43 am

 
Ziyulu
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:20 am

Before 1997, was a London to Hong Kong flight considered domestic?
 
GulfstreamFive
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:51 am

I remember reading an article a long time ago about the CX Hong Kong to London flight in the 1980s. I want to say they used a B747-200, but my memory is fuzzy on that. What stands out in my mind is that fuel was a major concern as the flight took the southerly route. So it was common practice at Kai Tak to tow the aircraft from gate to the hold short point, and the engines were started just prior to taking the runway.
 
tharanga
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:24 am

bens wrote:
I base this conclusion partly on a map in book by REG Davies. While the map is not incredibly detailed it seems like all CX routes to HK from Europe passed at least north of Hainan, meaning that CX always briefly flew over Chinese airspace.


I would be very careful when judging the actual routing of a flight from illustrations and maps. Does the book represent the map as showing the typical actual routing?
 
Seat1K
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:07 am

I took Cathay's 747-200 in their early days of operating to LGW (not LHR). The route flew via Bahrain. The range of the planes meant non-stop was not an option as they had to take what they called the Silk Route to Europe. As reciprocal rights BCal also got HKG-LGW rights and I think this routed via Abu Dhabi or Dubai with their DC-10-30?
I think only Finnair was permitted trans-Siberian routes from Europe along with JAL to Narita an, of course Aeroflot. They used to operate a through-numbered service from LHR to NRT via SVO using the Il-62.
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:14 am

Ziyulu wrote:
Before 1997, was a London to Hong Kong flight considered domestic?


no
 
PanHAM
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:55 am

chunhimlai wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Before 1997, was a London to Hong Kong flight considered domestic?


no


well, de facto it was. BA operated RTW routes via HKG and I flew once JNB-SEZ-CMB-HKG in a 741, BA had full traffic rights to and from the Crown Colony..
Up until Soviet and Chinese air space was opened the southern detour was Standard. My first flight to the ar East was on LH FRA ATH KHI BKK in 1980. A couple of years later it was FRA-DEL (or BOM) HKG. On CX in the 80s.a stop over in Dhahran was made on CX from FRA to HKG.
My first non-stop flight ver Russia was in the early 80s via CPH and from there on TG straight to BKK.. HKG was always included in the Itinerar which often included the Polar route returning to Europe
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cedarjet
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:09 am

Cunard wrote:
OzarkD9S wrote:
Cunard wrote:

This was to be Cathay Pacific first intercontinental route and this was the very start to their full international expansion as previously their network was based around Southeast Asia.



CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?


A regional flight from Hong Kong to Darwin Australia operated for a short period using their CV880's.

In 1971 Cathay Pacific purchased 4 former Northwest Orient B707-320C's from Boeing with the wide body interior and restarted Hong Kong to Sydney, Cathay Pacific went onto purchasing a further 7 former Northwest Orient B707C's from Boeing giving the airline a total of 11.

Cathay Pacific received their first L10-11's in 1975 and eventually had 19 examples and at one time were the largest operator of the type outside of the USA, they had all been retired from the fleet by 1996.

Their first RR powered B742 arrived in June 1980.

Just a couple more clarifications — CV-880Ms also served Perth via Jakarta, and btw Western Australia in those days was so sparsely populated that the alternate was an unpaved runway (never used, would have been interesting!). And not only was London not Cathay’s first intercontinental destination, it wasn’t even their first intercontinental destination for the 747, as the type’s inaugural flight was to Sydney. Lastly, Cunard didn’t elaborate and I’m sure knows this but Cathay’s Tristars we’re all short haul -1s and never flew to Australia. Cheers!
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cedarjet
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:10 am

cedarjet wrote:
Cunard wrote:
OzarkD9S wrote:

CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?


A regional flight from Hong Kong to Darwin Australia operated for a short period using their CV880's.

In 1971 Cathay Pacific purchased 4 former Northwest Orient B707-320C's from Boeing with the wide body interior and restarted Hong Kong to Sydney, Cathay Pacific went onto purchasing a further 7 former Northwest Orient B707C's from Boeing giving the airline a total of 11.

Cathay Pacific received their first L10-11's in 1975 and eventually had 19 examples and at one time were the largest operator of the type outside of the USA, they had all been retired from the fleet by 1996.

Their first RR powered B742 arrived in June 1980.

Just a couple more clarifications — CV-880Ms also served Perth via Jakarta, and btw Western Australia in those days was so sparsely populated that the alternate was an unpaved runway (never used, would have been interesting!).

Not only was London not Cathay’s first intercontinental destination, it wasn’t even their first intercontinental destination for the 747, as the type’s inaugural flight was to Sydney.

Lastly, Cunard didn’t elaborate and I’m sure knows this but to be clear — Cathay’s Tristars were all short haul -1s and never flew to Australia. Cheers!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
standby87
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:56 am

Cunard and other's info is very impressive.

I am ex-BA staff - I joined BA in 1987, hence my User Name.
For my sins, I keep a log of all my flights and I share a little bit of info

I first flew to HKG on the BA0035 ex-BCAL route LHR-DXB-HKG - obviously avoiding Chinese airspace back in August 1989:

LGW DXB BA0035 British Airways G-CITB Boeing 747-2D3B 13-Aug-89 * 6.06
DXB HKG BA0035 British Airways G-CITB Boeing 747-2D3B 14-Aug-89 6.55

I flew non-stop on B747-200 August 1989 HKG-LHR with a massive weight restriction - NOT over Chinese airspace: 13 hours 10 minutes airbourne.

HKG LHR BA0028 British Airways G-BDXK Boeing 747-236B 26-Aug-89 * 13.10 1533 0443

IIRC - memory is going a bit, but as Cunard said, around 1996 that the URUMQI routing opened up over the Mainland and then I distinctly remember some skippers saying we would be overlying Moscow.

Yes, it was a bit faster, but still when the winds were strong it took 13+ hours.

This is my full log HKG-LHR.
The times in the RHS are hh.mm AIRBOURNE, not block time.

HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-BNLZ Boeing 747-436 04-Apr-95 * 13.50
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVA Boeing 747-436 25-Jul-95 * 12.56
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVA Boeing 747-436 07-Jan-96 * 14.17
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 14-Apr-96 * 13.36
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-BNLZ Boeing 747-436 26-May-96 * 13.13
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 22-Oct-96 * 13.25
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 26-Jan-97 * 13.16
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVA Boeing 747-436 01-Apr-97 * 12.51
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 27-May-97 * 12.35
HKG LHR BA0032 British Airways G-BNLN Boeing 747-436 11-Jun-97 * 12.17
HKG LHR BA0028 British Airways G-CIVL Boeing 747-436 20-Jul-97 * 12.13
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 03-Aug-97 * 12.16
HKG LHR BA0028 British Airways G-CIVK Boeing 747-436 25-Aug-97 * 12.42
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 28-Dec-97 * 13.23
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 14-Apr-98 * 12.59
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVE Boeing 747-436 23-Jun-98 * 12.36
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-CIVB Boeing 747-436 16-Jul-00 * 12.10
HKG LHR BA0026 British Airways G-BNLI Boeing 747-436 10-Dec-00 * 13.01
HKG LHR BA0028 British Airways G-BNLI Boeing 747-436 24-Mar-03 * 13.00

Blimey, I think I could fly my own B747-400 personally from HKG to LHR!
 
peterinlisbon
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:53 pm

I flew on the first Oasis Hong Kong flight from HK to London and after 4 hours sitting on the ground waiting for clearance to fly over Siberia, they cancelled the flight and put us up in a hotel near HK Airport. The next day we flew a longer route avoiding Siberia and the flight took 13 hours. The plane was a 747-400 that was originally Sinapore Airlines and then was used by Iberia before being sold to Oasis. Because of the problems, I got a free return flight to Hong Kong which I used later.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:05 pm

Cunard wrote:
jmchevallier wrote:
British Caledonian Airways and Laker Airways found themselves in a similar battle with the United Kingdom's CAA a couple of years later in 1982 for permission to gain route authority to be able to fly from LGW to Australia but that's another story for another thread which seems worth starting but as I know all what needs to be known regarding that story I won't bother myself :-)

I for one would love if you did start a thread with this story to share your knowledge! Maybe it could be a thread on battles other UK carriers faced to gain route authorities after the formation of British Airways right through until the present day. (I recall the BA/VS battles over PVG and LAS, with both routes going to VS).
Let's Go British Caledonian!
 
Cunard
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:36 pm

cedarjet wrote:
Cunard wrote:
OzarkD9S wrote:

CX flew to Australia as far back as the 1970's didn't they?


A regional flight from Hong Kong to Darwin Australia operated for a short period using their CV880's.

In 1971 Cathay Pacific purchased 4 former Northwest Orient B707-320C's from Boeing with the wide body interior and restarted Hong Kong to Sydney, Cathay Pacific went onto purchasing a further 7 former Northwest Orient B707C's from Boeing giving the airline a total of 11.

Cathay Pacific received their first L10-11's in 1975 and eventually had 19 examples and at one time were the largest operator of the type outside of the USA, they had all been retired from the fleet by 1996.

Their first RR powered B742 arrived in June 1980.

Just a couple more clarifications — CV-880Ms also served Perth via Jakarta, and btw Western Australia in those days was so sparsely populated that the alternate was an unpaved runway (never used, would have been interesting!). And not only was London not Cathay’s first intercontinental destination, it wasn’t even their first intercontinental destination for the 747, as the type’s inaugural flight was to Sydney. Lastly, Cunard didn’t elaborate and I’m sure knows this but Cathay’s Tristars we’re all short haul -1s and never flew to Australia. Cheers!


I didn't elaborate on Cathay's Tristars as I had included in my post that they flew their B707-320's from Hong Kong to Sydney as the Tristar-1s obviously didn't have the range.

My mistake when I mentioned that HKG to LGW was Cathay Pacific's first intercontinental route as obviously it wasn't as the airline flew to Sydney and to be honest I had absolutely overlooked Perth.

My mind was too focused on HKG to LGW.

I should have added that Cathay Pacific received their first RR powered B747-267B in August 1979 registration VR-HKG and replaced the B707 on HKG-SYD.

The same B747 VR-HKG inaugurated HKG-LGW a year later on the 16 August 1980.
Last edited by Cunard on Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cunard
Posts: 1983
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:51 pm

FlyCaledonian wrote:
Cunard wrote:
jmchevallier wrote:
British Caledonian Airways and Laker Airways found themselves in a similar battle with the United Kingdom's CAA a couple of years later in 1982 for permission to gain route authority to be able to fly from LGW to Australia but that's another story for another thread which seems worth starting but as I know all what needs to be known regarding that story I won't bother myself :-)

I for one would love if you did start a thread with this story to share your knowledge! Maybe it could be a thread on battles other UK carriers faced to gain route authorities after the formation of British Airways right through until the present day. (I recall the BA/VS battles over PVG and LAS, with both routes going to VS).


Yes considering that we are both BCAL fanboys I think that a thread discussing the trials and tribulations of BCAL/LAKER and the CAA regarding them trying to grant permission in obtaining route authority for LGW to Australia against the antagonist British Airways it might make for an interesting thread and I'm sure that your aware that ANSETT would be involved within that thread as well, but that's for another day as I would have to have a really long think before I started that as there is so much to discuss even more so than the liberalisation of the UK to Hong Kong air treaty of 1980 which we've all been discussing in great detail and I have to admit that I've really enjoyed it and I really appreciate the positive comments from others regarding the information that I've provided :-)

Thanks guys this is what airliners.net is all about isn't rather than silly unsubstantiated rumours or never ending threads like should airline X fly from A to B or do you think the 757 will relaunched!
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Pottok
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:22 pm

Hello,

British Airways started nonstop flights between London and Honk Kong in April 1987
 
Pottok
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:34 pm

For information Air France served Tokyo from Paris in 1983 via Moscow or Anchorage.
Last edited by Pottok on Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Pottok
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:34 pm

For information Air France served Tokyo from Paris in 1983 via Moscow or Anchorage.
 
Ziyulu
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:00 pm

PanHAM wrote:
chunhimlai wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Before 1997, was a London to Hong Kong flight considered domestic?


no


well, de facto it was. BA operated RTW routes via HKG and I flew once JNB-SEZ-CMB-HKG in a 741, BA had full traffic rights to and from the Crown Colony..
Up until Soviet and Chinese air space was opened the southern detour was Standard. My first flight to the ar East was on LH FRA ATH KHI BKK in 1980. A couple of years later it was FRA-DEL (or BOM) HKG. On CX in the 80s.a stop over in Dhahran was made on CX from FRA to HKG.
My first non-stop flight ver Russia was in the early 80s via CPH and from there on TG straight to BKK.. HKG was always included in the Itinerar which often included the Polar route returning to Europe


So you still have to go through immigration in Hong Kong or London?
 
trex8
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:17 pm

Ziyulu wrote:
PanHAM wrote:
chunhimlai wrote:

no


well, de facto it was. BA operated RTW routes via HKG and I flew once JNB-SEZ-CMB-HKG in a 741, BA had full traffic rights to and from the Crown Colony..
Up until Soviet and Chinese air space was opened the southern detour was Standard. My first flight to the ar East was on LH FRA ATH KHI BKK in 1980. A couple of years later it was FRA-DEL (or BOM) HKG. On CX in the 80s.a stop over in Dhahran was made on CX from FRA to HKG.
My first non-stop flight ver Russia was in the early 80s via CPH and from there on TG straight to BKK.. HKG was always included in the Itinerar which often included the Polar route returning to Europe


So you still have to go through immigration in Hong Kong or London?

HK to UK was "domestic" as far as air service rights granted by the UK government but there was always immigration control at either end.
 
PanHAM
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:22 pm

yes, for the simple reason that there was always an intermediary stop in a third between LON and HKG. But I said "de facto" as well.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
MalevTU134
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:34 pm

PanHAM wrote:
yes, for the simple reason that there was always an intermediary stop in a third between LON and HKG. But I said "de facto" as well.

Jeeez. Haven't you read any of the thread??....
 
B-HOP
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:15 pm

Cunard wrote:
cedarjet wrote:
Cunard wrote:

Just a couple more clarifications — CV-880Ms also served Perth via Jakarta, and btw Western Australia in those days was so sparsely populated that the alternate was an unpaved runway (never used, would have been interesting!). And not only was London not Cathay’s first intercontinental destination, it wasn’t even their first intercontinental destination for the 747, as the type’s inaugural flight was to Sydney. Lastly, Cunard didn’t elaborate and I’m sure knows this but Cathay’s Tristars we’re all short haul -1s and never flew to Australia. Cheers!


I didn't elaborate on Cathay's Tristars as I had included in my post that they flew their B707-320's from Hong Kong to Sydney as the Tristar-1s obviously didn't have the range.

My mistake when I mentioned that HKG to LGW was Cathay Pacific's first intercontinental route as obviously it wasn't as the airline flew to Sydney and to be honest I had absolutely overlooked Perth.

My mind was too focused on HKG to LGW.

I should have added that Cathay Pacific received their first RR powered B747-267B in August 1979 registration VR-HKG and replaced the B707 on HKG-SYD.

The same B747 VR-HKG inaugurated HKG-LGW a year later on the 16 August 1980.


Cathay used their two bough new -100 for Sydney for a short time but with payload restriction, 747 taken over after it entered service
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Ryanair01
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:16 pm

Ziyulu wrote:
PanHAM wrote:
chunhimlai wrote:

no


well, de facto it was. BA operated RTW routes via HKG and I flew once JNB-SEZ-CMB-HKG in a 741, BA had full traffic rights to and from the Crown Colony..
Up until Soviet and Chinese air space was opened the southern detour was Standard. My first flight to the ar East was on LH FRA ATH KHI BKK in 1980. A couple of years later it was FRA-DEL (or BOM) HKG. On CX in the 80s.a stop over in Dhahran was made on CX from FRA to HKG.
My first non-stop flight ver Russia was in the early 80s via CPH and from there on TG straight to BKK.. HKG was always included in the Itinerar which often included the Polar route returning to Europe


So you still have to go through immigration in Hong Kong or London?


Yes customs and immigration applied. It was never a domestic route de facto or otherwise. Hong Kong was never considered an integral part of the United Kingdom (which is Great Britain and Northern Ireland), although it was controlled by the British Government. You needed a passport to enter each end and people from Hong Kong had their own passport with a different citizenship status to those from the UK (British Dependent Citizen as opposed to British Citizen) which meant people from Hong Kong didn't have any right to live in the UK. As such their access to UK borders was restricted and controlled just like anybody else. (Tough ha, especially considering the UK controlled their local government!).

BOAC and later BA did have routes from the colony, but this dwindled to the (I think) weekly South African service PanHAM mentions. Swire who acquired CX in 1948 were very influential in colonial circles and used their influence to build up CX's foothold by the 1960s-70s & 80s.
Last edited by Ryanair01 on Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:34 pm

LHRBFSTrident wrote:
I used to fly London-Hong Kong with BA regularly on the "school bus' during my teenage years 1985-1990 and I remember - maybe a bit fuzzily - some aspects of that experience

In regards to routing, one of my HKG-LHR (1989?) non-stops passed overhead Kunming, PRC on the way, as well as Tashkent ( or Dushanbe?) - both the latter then-Soviet cities were displayed on the IFE and for a Cold War era teenager, overflying both the PRC and the USSR on 1 flight was pretty mind-blowing. Kunming was definitely mentioned in the Captain's pre-departure PA when the routing was discussed; the others I remember because I had only read about them in books: pre-internet...

I can't remember if BA started n/s service to HKG with the 747-236Bs with RB211-524D4 engines, or if they waited until the 747-436 with RB211-535Gs (-535H?)

Those flights were certainly a bit of a sh*tshow for the crew - 60+ ex-pat children on their way back to boarding school after a summer of fun in SE Asia, mainly in E-zone made for a rather rowdy experience. Clearly remember the additional crew-rest 'hut' installed in the rear of E-zone replacing some centre rows of seats - this was when a 12-hr non-stop flight was extremely rare, let alone 13 or 14 hours. There appeared to be additional crew members on that flight - BA used to have a Flying Nanny service at the time, and at times there were 5-6 uniformed BA staff just in E-zone.

I flew ex-BR G-HUGE LGW-DXB-HKG one time after the merger - I think it was in all-pax config then but not entirely certain. As late as 1989, BA was still making stops in BOM for its second daily LHR flight (may have alternated with DEL) and only 1 flight each day was n/s.

FWIW - the government of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong used to publish and annual Civil Aviation Report which I used to go and collect from the government publications office in Central or Wan Chai every summer - it listed all the route applications made during the year, I have copies of 1987, '88 and '89 but they are in deep storage somewhere in the UK, but hopefully there might be versions available online somewhere: it's an AV geeks' treasure trove ;)

Off topic but mentioned upthread: in regards to Europe-NRT flights overflying the USSR, when the Soviets allowed overflying BA and JL changed their routing to eliminate the ANC refuelling stop. IIRC the Soviet government was more than happy to have an additional source of hard currency (ATC fees, etc) but with the proviso that a certain number of flights each week stopped at SVO - I think 3 each week for each airline. That was a huge improvement over the daily ANC stop - though I don't remember what happened to Osaka flights at that time...


HKG-LHR was my school bus too in 1995-2004, my dad was in the fire service and got the chance to move to UK in 1995, I also have relatives who are already in Birmingham, let me try to put all memories together.

Around 1990, there was one case when a BA 747-200 was late for several hours arriving from (New) Delhi having suffered landing gear problem, my aunt return flights several months later also route via the sub-continent either Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai) or Karachi (I am not sure though), the same flight arrived at 10 am also continues to Manila, Seoul maybe Nagoya and later Taipei, the other flight arrived around at sunset changed to 747-400 by 1991. BA modified 747-200 engines to D4 standard for it to operate non-stop between Hong Kong to London, though 35 tonnes outline on the articles means little for cargo
https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive ... 524d4%20ba

My first flight back in 24/7/1996, CX250 VR-HOW was routed though the southerly route and I remembered the route avoided Afghanistan and have a detour over Lahore, it also overfly Thailand and breakfast was delayed as there was typhoon overhead, it might overfly either Vietnam or southern China, I remember VS took a different route and the trip was an hour longer on their 343, which depart 1 1/2 hour early compare to BA and CX, would try to dig more into my memory later
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Ryanair01
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:58 pm

Maybe this is helpful. It is from 1985 and confirms what others have said

Image
 
Cunard
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:12 pm

Pottok wrote:
For information Air France served Tokyo from Paris in 1983 via Moscow or Anchorage.


I don't know what your adding to the discussion but,

Air France inaugurated Paris Orly to Tokyo via Anchorage in 1958.

As the crow flies Paris to Tokyo is 10,000 km.

In 1958 Air France Superstarliner took the ''Polar Route'' from Paris to Tokyo via Anchorage and took thirty hours which was 3000 km shorter than the previous route which was called the ''Champs Elysee'' route that was originally launched on 24 November 1952 by Lockheed Constellation, operated twice a week it routed via Beirut, Karachi and Saigon and took 51 hours.

With the arrival of the jet age in 1958 and delivery of the B707 to Air France a year later in 1959 the ''Polar'' route was shortened even further and took 19 hours four times weekly Paris Orly to Tokyo via Anchorage with Moscow added as a stop on one of weekly flights from 1973 at which time the B707 took the route via Moscow and the B741 via Anchorage.

It was shortened even further to 12 hours in 1986 with the launch of the non stop flight from Paris CDG to Tokyo called the ''Rising Sun'' route using the B742.
94 Countries, 327 Destinations Worldwide, 32 Airlines, 29 Aircraft Types, 182 Airports, 335 Flights.
 
Overthecascades
Posts: 173
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:51 pm

Cunard wrote:
The non stop flights took a southerly route avoiding Chinese airspace and I'm assuming over Vietnam and the former indo China countries but the flight time was approximately 12 hours non stop so the flights must have gone very close to the Chinese airspace at times but obviously avoiding it.

The Chinese government were relaxing parts of their airspace towards the late eighties and early nineties which allowed some of their southern airspace open to commercial aviation from foreign airlines with lots of restrictions though, this is because the Chinese government wanted their own CAAC flights from Beijing to LGW, CDG and FRA to go non stop thus avoiding their own stop en route at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

What was strange that even after a deal was done that allowed CX and BA overflight rights in Chinese airspace CAAC still continued with their stop at Sharjah enroute to Europe, although that was omitted in 1995 by which time the flight was a non stop to LHR after CAAC had transferred their LGW operations to LHR in 1992.


Why did CAAC fly to Sharjah instead of today’s well known destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi? I think CA then CZ still flew to Sharjah towards early 2000s?
 
Cunard
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:30 pm

I can't answer that personally but you have to remember that even in the early eighties neither Abu Dhabi or Dubai had the presence on the world stage as they do today as they were used more often than not as fuel stops and there was no tourism as we know it today and any business was generally oil related more than anything else, if you look back at the history of Sharjah the airport attracted far more airlines from the eastern block countries and African states than either Abu Dhabi or Dubai did although Dubai did attract several.

Sharjah was always favoured by the cargo airlines and although Air China used it as a stop en route from Beijing to Europe it was basically a fuel stop and you have to take into consideration that China at the time had very close relations with the former eastern block countries and the USSR and there could well have been some transfer passengers but I shouldn't imagine there was many back then.

Even Gulf Air didn't really serve Sharjah as their operations in the UAE were centred around Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

So in reality airlines from the western and non communist countries favoured Abu Dhabi and Dubai as their fuel stops and the rest tended to use Sharjah.

It's similar to Bahrain to a certain extent and hardly any airline used Doha back then as a fuel stop, similar to Abu Dhabi and Dubai and look at those two plus Doha today where in comparison Sharjah is still very much of a backwater.

You also have to take into consideration that the UAE consists of different ruling emirates and Sharjah and it's ruling powers for various reasons might have had their own agendas thus attracting the airlines from the areas of the world that I've just mentioned.

I can't think of any western or non soviet block airline ever using Sharjah as a fuel stop back then maybe the odd freighter or two but definitely not passenger airlines.

Whether that's the correct answer or not but it's how I've always perceived the situation.
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bens
Topic Author
Posts: 4
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Re: Routing of non-stop flights Europe-Hong Kong during the 1980s

Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:33 am

Cunard: I am very grateful for your input! Also, thanks for confirming my reasoning with regards to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. I should also mention that my research analyze how trade patterns between Europe and East Asia were affected by the liberalization of Soviet airspace during the latter half of the 1980s and onward. Maybe it would be interesting for all aviation enthusiasts in this forum to know that better air links between Europe and East Asia seemed to have a substantial on trade between these regions.

tharanga: REG Davies did not provide a source for the map he uses. The title of the book is "Airlines of Asia" and the map can be found on page 272. I agree that one should be careful about drawing to much conclusions from a simple illustration. However, just by studying maps it becomes clear that completely avoiding Chinese airspace means flying south of Hainan which would add considerable distance. Also, the rote map provided by Ryanair01 shows that the CX routes did cross Chinese airspace in 1985.

Ryanair01: Thank you very much for the route map! I wonder if anyone else if you or anyone else might have a similar route maps from later years between 1986 and 1989. I would be really interesting to nail the exact the exact years when CX, LH and BA started to fly over Soviet airspace on their way to HK.

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