CX807 Flight Path


I’m wondering why CX807 is has not been flying over the Pole recently.

I understand winds and “stuff” but I am interested in exactly why?

We’ve flown this route this same time over the years and have always gone the polar route.

Thanks for your help.


ORD to HKG doesn’t require a flight path over the North Pole and such a path would add significantly to the flight length. The flight path flown shows the aircraft skirting Russian airspace, especially over the Kamchatka peninsula, saving onerous Russian overflight “fees” and possibly having your aircraft shot down for “spying”.

I believe your memory of having made such flights ex ORD may be in error.


Just to say… You don’t know me, but if you did, you’d know I do not post without proof and/or research.

Yes, not directly over the North Pole, but the route is called the “Polar Route”.

My bad jotting down “… over the pole.” Just assumed the people who would know “… exactly why?” would also understand I was referencing the usual (as in majority of the time) Polar Route flight path of CX807.

But… I did include, “… always gone the polar route.” in the OP.

My point was, it’s not flying the regular way recently, why not?

Here’s CX807 flying the Polar Route:

June 18 … /KORD/VHHH

June 19 - Flying east out of ORD … /KORD/VHHH

In fact, checking all the available Flight Aware CX807 flight paths (for members) dating back to 20130228
might have prevented you from composing your post, because CX807 ORD-HKG has been flying the Polar Route every day (did not check every, every day, but checked most of 'em.)

Meaning, posting verifiable information or at least opinions that don’t’ crumble under scrutiny is IMO, the best way to share information.

And not to pick on you particularly (too late for that?) but all the people that pull answers “out of their behinds”. Please stop doing that!

Russian “fees”?

“The main obstacle to flights across Russia was the inadequate Russian air traffic control system and a lack of English communication. To solve these issues RACGAT (Russian-American Coordinating Group for Air Traffic) was formed in 1993. By summer 1998 the Russian government gave permission to open four cross-polar routes, named Polar 1, 2, 3 and 4.[4] Cathay Pacific flew the first polar flight into Siberia in July 1998.”

A quick search will turn up educated opinions on the advantages of the Polar Route. … in/305401/

And photos.

Here’s CX807 heading east to HKG last year.

Cape Dorset. Definitely a east heading out of ORD

Map cape Dorset: … us&t=m&z=3

Even the map you provided does not support your own words, “[North Pole path]… add significantly to the flight length.”, because the shortest flight distance ORD-HKG flies a “mere” 1,115 miles from the North Pole.

Don’t know how to attach a Google Earth .kmz file supporting the above. … ts&RS=best

And referencing an event “… having your aircraft shot down…” that took place 35 years ago as the reason CX807 is currently… Oh I give up!

Just trying to help.


I know that when United flew the flight with the 747-400 they would often fly the route you initially posted rather than the Polar route in order to avoid Chinese airspace, which, while perfectly legal to fly though, was a hassle for the aircrew and dispatchers and the airspace from Hong Kong into mainland China was often congested and en-route delays were common. This could be avoided by flying East out of HKG towards Taiwanese and then Japanese airspace. It’s possible that on this day there was weather over mainland China which made the airspace even more congested.


Appreciate the help, but CX807 has consistently flown the Polar Route since a least February 28, 2013 and has only recently switched. Sure, could be wind, but every single day? As mentioned in the OP, we flew the Polar Route on our June/July departures four years running.

Something specific is going on and I’m curious to know what. Guess I’ll find out when we ask the pilot on Monday.


Could be several things? Political climate. Regulatory change. Issue with Divert airfields. Cathay doesn’t want to deal with a plane landing in the hinterlands…


I think maybe the reason could be to do with polar climatology. In wintertime, the polar night (i.e. the lack of solar radiation at the Pole) means strong westerly winds set up at altitude (the Polar Night Jet), circumventing the globe at mid-latitudes. Near the Pole, winds are lighter, therefore westbound traffic can justify the added track miles involved in flying nearer the Pole as they will encounter less of these strong headwinds.

From around late April to around November the constant solar radiation at the Pole causes the opposite effect, making the Polar Night jet collapse and actually reverse direction to easterly. At typical cruising levels winds are still mostly westerly but are much weaker and further north than wintertime, therefore flight paths can be more direct.