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Cathay Pacific makes biggest ever order for freighter fleet expansion

22 Jun 2006

Cathay Pacific Airways today made its biggest ever commitment for new freighter aircraft with an order for six Boeing 747-400ERF, Extended Range Freighters, as it continues to invest in additional cargo capacity to meet aggressive growth plans for the Hong Kong hub. The six new aircraft are scheduled to arrive between May 2008 and April 2009. Cathay Pacific currently operates 97 aircraft, 14 of which are freighters, including one 747-400BCF, Boeing Converted Freighters, six 747-400 and seven 747-200 freighters. In 1997, there were just six freighters in the airline. This latest investment, together with an outstanding order of five 747-400BCFs, will further expand Cathay Pacific’s freighter fleet. Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen said: "This latest investment further underscores our long-term commitment to invest in Hong Kong, and is an expression of our confidence in Hong Kong as the premier aviation hub in the Asia Pacific region. Cargo is a major contributor to our continued growth, and we are committed to expanding our freighter fleet to ensure it plays a key role in the future of both Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong as a leading cargo hub."

The 747-400ERF has a maximum payload of 248,600 pounds (112,760 kg) and can carry 22,000 pounds (9,980 kg) more than other 747-400 freighters on long-range flights at maximum takeoff weight. It has a maximum range of 9,200 km, about 525 km farther than other 747-400 freighters, and has a strengthened fuselage, landing gear and parts of its wing, along with new, larger tyres.

The new aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4062A engines and deployed on trunk routes to North America to take full advantage of their superior payload range capability.

The airline took delivery of the world’s first 747-400BCF in December last year. A second is due next month and a third in September this year. Three more will enter service in 2007. The airline has retained its options on a further six 747-400BCFs which are now scheduled for delivery from the end of 2008 to 2010.

Cathay Pacific last month added the 28th online freighter destination to its network with the launch of a new twice-weekly service to Chennai, India. More new freighter destinations services to Stockholm and Toronto are due to be launched later this year as part of the airline’s plan to build its network, thereby strengthening Hong Kong’s hub position.