A Unique Start: Cathay Pacific Comes To Pittsburgh
Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get more strange, Cathay Pacific Airways announced new service to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) on board their Boeing 777-300ER from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (and a stop in Hong Kong).
Under normal circumstances, this flight could fit more than 300 passengers, but with the downturn in people traveling, this aircraft was re-fitted to transport cargo instead of passengers.
Cathay Pacific Airways flight number CX8800 arrived in Pittsburgh at 9:45am on September 21st, 2020 after nearly 16 hours of flying. This is the first of 20 scheduled flights operated by Cathay Pacific in partnership with Unique Logistics International (a freight forwarder).
These flights will operate twice per week (Monday and Thursday) for 12 weeks. The flights will end in November.
The Vice President of Cargo for Cathay Pacific was quoted as saying “The decision to operate out of Pittsburgh International was simple. It’s easy to get in and out of the airport. Other airports are congested; it could take a whole day for a trucking company to pick up freight. In Pittsburgh, everything can be done within three hours. It’s a matter of time and ease.”
Only a few hours after landing the 3,500 boxes of consumer goods on board were removed and loaded onto trucks heading to destinations around the country.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is within 24 hours driving distance of two thirds of the U.S. population.
Pittsburgh International Airport has all of the features necessary to facilitate large cargo flights like this one. The airport has the runways, the facilities, the cargo handlers, and the capability to tackle any option that is presented.
During the Fall of 2019, the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) a grant of $18.69 million to construct a 75,000 square foot cargo processing facility (known as Cargo 4) and surface parking space to expand their cargo operations.
The current three buildings operated by FedEx and UPS could be full in the near future, and this additional space is an absolute necessity for future growth.
(Photos credited to blueskypit.com)