The Cathay Group welcomes back its last aircraft from long-term overseas parking

The Cathay Group celebrated the completion of one of the most unprecedented undertakings in its 77-year history when on 6 June 2024, it reactivated the 85th and final aircraft to be long-term parked overseas. After nearly four years in the Australian desert, Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330 registration B-HLV returned to Hong Kong, where it will now undergo an extensive hangar maintenance check. B-HLV was the first of the Cathay Group’s aircraft to go into long-term parking overseas on 28 July 2020, as global air travel came to a near-standstill during the pandemic.
At the height of the pandemic, Cathay Pacific and HK Express had to park the majority of their passenger fleet at Hong Kong International Airport and overseas in Alice Springs, Australia and Ciudad Real, Spain. As the pandemic began to subside, the Cathay Group commenced the progressive reactivation of these aircraft. This involved the performance of a rigorous series of maintenance checks and inspections to ensure safety and performance.

Each aircraft that was long-term parked in Alice Springs underwent a 14-day preservation check when it first arrived that was then followed by a repeating series of periodic inspections and checks. Over the course of the parking programme in Alice Springs, more than 16,000 of these periodic checks were performed, and a total of 800,000 labour hours were spent performing preservation, periodic and reactivation maintenance.

Furthermore, over 40,000 parts and items of specialised equipment were also shipped from Hong Kong to support the Alice Springs operation.

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