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Cathay Pacific to modernize fleet

By control on August 11, 2011

As part of a fleet modernization program, Cathay Pacific has agreed to purchase four 777-300ER aircraft and eight 777-200 freighters from Boeing. The planes carry a list price of HK$25.6 billion.

The passenger craft will be added to Cathay’s existing fleet of 22 -300ER planes, but the freighters are a new purchase for the carrier. According to officials, the new freighters will replace aging 747-400F conversions. By the end of the decade, Cathay Pacific pilots will say goodbye to at least 21 747-400 freighters and 13 Airbus A340-300s; four of the freighters will either be sold or dry leased, with the rest entering retirement.

This ramping up of Cathay’s cargo operations extends to the construction of an HK$5.5 billion cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, which is slated to be completed in 2013.

Results for the first six months of 2011 show a 7.7-percent, year-over-year increase in Cathay Pacific’s cargo revenue. Yield rose 7.7 percent when compared with the first six months of 2010, but capacity outpaced it with 14.6-percent growth.

Even with these results and soaring fuel costs, Cathay officials are not getting discouraged.

“The current high fuel prices and economic uncertainty are a reminder that we operate in a challenging and unpredictable industry and accordingly must continue to manage our finances prudently,” Chris Pratt, the carrier’s chairman, said in a statement.

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