Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that it has placed firm orders to purchase six new passenger aircraft in a positive step to position the airline to offer more choice to customers and secure a larger market share as demand in the air travel market grows.
The airline has ordered three Boeing 777-300 and three Airbus A330-300 passenger aircraft for delivery in 2003 and 2004. Both types of aircraft are currently deployed by the airline on short- and medium-haul regional routes. Later this year, Cathay Pacific will also take delivery of the first of three long-range Airbus A340-600 aircraft for use on ultra-long-haul routes to Europe and North America.
In conjunction with the new aircraft purchase, Cathay Pacific may need to recruit up to 800 additional staff over the next three years.
The decision to order the new aircraft reflects the companyÁ?s commitment to maintain the long-term growth of the airline. Current conditions in the supply market also make this an attractive time to purchase new aircraft.
Cathay Pacific currently operates a fleet of 75 aircraft, but has temporarily parked five passenger aircraft and two freighters as a result of the aviation downturn at the end of last year. In current plans, four passenger aircraft and one freighter will be brought back into service later this year as market demand picks up.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman David Turnbull said: “Because Cathay Pacific managed itself carefully during the downturn we are now able to plan for a better future. Bear in mind that although today`s market is weak and it is still too early to pronounce a full recovery, these aircraft will not be delivered for two years. This is an investment in the future of Cathay Pacific and its staff, and underlines our confidence in the future of Hong Kong and our continued effort to strengthen Hong Kong as the region`s leading aviation hub.”