Cathay Pacific builds on freighter fleet

Cathay Pacific has made its biggest ever commitment for new freighter aircraft with an order for six Boeing 747-400ERF, Extended Range Freighters.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.