Cathay Pacific Airways today announced it has signed agreements to add seven additional aircraft to its operating fleet including three of Airbus Industrie`s new ultra-long range A340-600s. The additions will increase the airline`s operating fleet to 81 aircraft by the end of next year. This will help strengthen Cathay Pacific`s network and its hub at Hong Kong International Airport.
The additional aircraft are:
* Three Airbus A340-600s for delivery in 2002/2003
* Three Airbus A340-300s for delivery in June, July and September 2001
* One Airbus A330-300 for delivery in November 2001
The A340-600s will be leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) for an initial period of five years. The A340-300s will be leased from Boeing Aircraft Trading for a period of five years and will effectively replace three A340-300s Cathay Pacific currently leases from Air China. The A330-300 will be purchased directly from Airbus.
Prior to these agreements, Cathay Pacific was already scheduled to take delivery of 10 additional aircraft this year: seven A330-300s, one A340-300, and two Boeing 747-400 freighters. Three of these aircraft have already joined the fleet. Cathay Pacific is currently evaluating its aircraft requirements beyond 2002.
The A340-600 is a new generation of aircraft capable of flying ultra-long range routes such as between Hong Kong and New York and Hong Kong and Chicago. The first flight test aircraft has just been assembled and flight tests will commence in the second quarter. The aircraft will enter service in the middle of 2002.
Cathay Pacific already operates a number of A340-300s and A330-300s. These two aircraft types share the same basic cockpit layout, operating procedures and handling characteristics. Cathay Pacific operates them as a single fleet.
Cathay Pacific Chairman James Hughes-Hallett said: “We are delighted to be continuing the growth of our airline by taking delivery of these additional aircraft. As a pioneer of ultra long-range flights, we are particularly pleased to be adding three Airbus A340-600s to our fleet.”
Cathay Pacific currently operates a fleet of 70 aircraft: 19 Boeing 747-400s, three Boeing 747-400 freighters, seven Boeing 747-200 freighters, seven Boeing 777-300s, five Boeing 777-200s, 15 Airbus A340-300s, and 14 Airbus A330-300s.