Our modern fleet is our pride and joy, consisting of 142 wide-body aircraft with an average age of less than 8.5 years. Cathay Pacific is committed to investing in a modern, fuel-efficient fleet and has over 80 aircraft - including A330s, A350-900s, A350-1000s, Boeing 777-300ERs, Boeing 777-9Xs and 747-8 Freighters - on firm order for delivery up to 2024.
These new aircraft will enable us to offer significant benefits in terms of safety, efficiency and passenger satisfaction, together with a significant reduction in our environmental impact. The aircraft orders represent an investment of over HK$210 billion at book value and will ensure our position as one of the world’s leading international premium carriers.
The Boeing 777-300ER forms the backbone of our long-haul fleet. Often referred to as “the triple”, the aircraft was introduced to the fleet in 2007. We operate the largest 777-300ER fleet in Asia, and this super-efficient aircraft enhances our services on long-haul and ultra-long-haul routes, primarily to North America and Europe. We have 43 of these aircraft in our fleet with a further 10 on order. The 777-300ER has proved popular with passengers and crew, and has also proved its value to the airline’s cargo business, carrying up to [20 tonnes] of airfreight even with a full passenger load.
Boeing 747 freighters
Continued investment in our freighter fleet, along with the opening of our very own cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, has helped to cement Hong Kong’s position as one of world’s most efficient, and technologically advanced, cargo hubs. Cathay Pacific is now one of the world’s leading cargo carriers, offering a truly global network. The backbone of our freighter fleet is our 13 Boeing 747-8Fs – the largest and most efficient production freighter. We also operate six Boeing 747-400ERFs and a number of 747-400 production freighters, though the latter are now being retired. We were the first airline to take delivery of a 747-8 simulator which is used for training purposes at our Hong Kong headquarters, Cathay Pacific City.
The Cathay Pacific Group operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A330s fleet, with 38 of these twin-engine aircraft used on our regional and medium-haul routes. We took delivery of our first Airbus A330-300 in 1995 and the aircraft has lived up to the manufacturer’s promises regarding reliability and efficiency. We have five more of these aircraft on order and the A330 will continue to serve us well on routes such as Australia and the Middle East.
Other aircraft types
In addition to the long-haul Boeing 777-300ERs, we also operate a few of the older versions of the triple, the 777-200 and 777-300 variants which, offer us high capacity and efficiency on medium-haul routes. We were the launch customer for the Boeing 777-300 back in 1998.
Our first Boeing 747-200 began operations in 1979 while the first -400 variant arrived 10 years later. The Jumbo was instrumental in building Cathay Pacific into the highly regarded international carrier it is today. Unfortunately, operating the 747s has become too expensive in these times of high fuel prices, so we are progressively retiring them from the fleet. This iconic aircraft will be removed from long-haul services in September 2014 and will be retired from the fleet completely by 2018.
We currently operate 11 A340-300s on “thinner” long-haul routes – that is, routes with lower traffic feeds. However, the operating economics of this older four-engine aircraft are not as good as the new-generation aircraft so we will accelerate the retirement of this fleet as the new A350s arrive. All our A340s will be retired by 2017.
Aircraft on order
Our first A350 XWB will arrive in February 2016. This mid-size long-haul aircraft has the capacity, range and operating economics to enhance our existing fleet and replace the older A340s. The use of advanced technologies will bring environmental benefits such as lower fuel burn, reduced emissions and lower noise levels, and offer a significant improvement in our operating economics.
With a longer range and higher capacity than the -900 variant, the A350-1000 will still offer all the efficiency and environmental benefits of the XWB range.
The latest in the family of Boeing's wide-body aircraft, the 777X was unveiled in November 2013 with the first delivery to an airline customer targeted for 2020. This aircraft promises to set new benchmarks for fuel consumption and operating costs, with the 777-9X variant forming the next generation of our long-haul fleet.