Cathay Pacific orders 27 new aircraft and announces record profits

9 Mar 2011

Cathay Pacific Airways has placed orders for 27 new aircraft to boost fleet growth and modernisation plans. The 27 aircraft orders include 15 Airbus A330-300s, 10 Boeing B777-300ERs and two A350-900s.

The new aircraft are all scheduled for delivery by the end of 2015. The 10 additional B777-300s will bring the total to 46 aircraft of this type within Cathay Pacific’s fleet and the 15 new A330-300s will add to the 32 aircraft of this type already within the carrier's fleet.

The two A350-900s will be the first of its kind to enter the carrier’s fleet in 2015 while the 30 others purchased last year (see story here) will be delivered between 2016 and 2019. 

Tony Tyler, chief executive of Cathay Pacific, said: “Our plan is to retire our 21 B747-400 and 11 A340-300 aircraft before the end of the decade as we take delivery progressively of new generation aircraft that will provide much greater fuel and operating cost efficiencies." Currently, the average age of aircraft within Cathay's fleet stands at 20 years. 

He said: "This is important both for environmental reasons and from a financial perspective as fuel remains our greatest single cost.” 

When anouncing record profits of HK$14 million (US$1.7 million) for 2010, the carrier emphasised that the recent spike in oil pricees due to turmoil in the Middle East is a "source of real concern." 

Christopher Pratt, Cathay Pacific chairman, said: "If fuel remains at this level or continues to rise, we can expect adverse effect on our profitability as fuel accounts for up to 40 percent of our operating costs."

The carrier stated it will hedge 20 to 30 per cent of its fuel to ensure protection against higher oil prices despite last year's fuel hedging activities resulting in losses. 

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Alisha Haridasani

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