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Cathay Pacific places order for 17 more new aircraft

08 Nov 2007

Cathay Pacific Airways today announced its biggest-ever direct-purchase commitment for new aircraft, placing firm orders for 10 Boeing 747-8 Freighters and a further seven Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft directly from the Boeing Company. The airline has also taken up purchase rights for another 14 of the new freighter type.

The announcement for the new aircraft order – valued at approximately US$5.2 billion at list prices - comes as Cathay Pacific continues to expand its fleet and further develop its passenger and cargo services to further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a leading international aviation hub.

The airline currently operates 19 freighters and before today’s announcement already had commitments for eight more - six Boeing 747-400ERF Extended Range Freighters and two 747-400BCF Boeing Converted Freighters - for delivery by 2009. The addition of the 10 new Boeing 747-8F new-generation freighters will enhance the airline’s cargo capacity and at the same time allow it to begin a phased withdrawal of its fleet of seven older, less fuel-efficient Boeing 747-200F “Classic” freighters by 2012.

The order for additional Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft means Cathay Pacific now has a firm commitment for 30 of the aircraft type for delivery by 2012, making it the largest such commitment of any airline in Asia for the 777-300ER. Three have already been delivered and will be used to operate the airline’s fast-expanding long-haul services primarily to North America, starting with the third daily flight to New York which launches 15 November.

The passenger aircraft and freighter purchases announced today are scheduled for delivery from 2009 to 2012.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “We are very pleased to announce our biggest-ever new order for 10 freighters, plus 14 purchase rights, together with a commitment for seven more Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft. These orders highlight our long-term confidence in the future of both the cargo and passenger markets in Hong Kong and confirm our commitment to developing our home city as one of the world’s premier aviation hubs.”

Mr Tyler added: “We are very excited about the 747-8 Freighter which provides the highest payload of any commercial freighter. More importantly, this is a highly fuel-efficient aircraft which consumes 22% less fuel per revenue payload tonne than a 747-200F and 12% less than a 747-400F. Similarly, the 777-300ER is 22% more fuel-efficient than a 747-400 per payload tonne. The greater efficiency of both aircraft types is very important in these environmentally sensitive times and when fuel prices are at record highs.”
 
Cathay Pacific is one of the earliest customers for the new-generation, high-capacity 747-8F which provides 16% more revenue cargo volume than the Boeing 747-400F with a maximum structural payload capacity of 140 tonnes and a greater range of 8,275 kilometres. The 747-8F, powered by General Electric GEnx-2B67 engines, will be deployed primarily on Cathay Pacific’s cargo trunk routes to North America. At present, the airline operates all-cargo services to 34 destinations worldwide.

Cathay Pacific now operates a fleet of 110 aircraft and has 48 aircraft in its order book, including 30 passenger aircraft and 18 freighters. Together with the 39 aircraft, including seven freighters, operated by its sister airline Dragonair and the eight freighters operated by its express cargo subsidiary airline Air Hong Kong, operated in partnership with DHL, the Cathay Pacific Group’s combined fleet now totals 157 aircraft. By 2012, taking into account retired aircraft and the return of leased aircraft, Cathay Pacific will operate a total of 147 aircraft, while the Group’s fleet will number 196 aircraft.