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Cathay Pacific begins taking delivery of advanced Boeing 747-8 Freighters

Cathay Pacific Airways has begun taking delivery of its new fleet of Boeing 747-8 Freighters, with the first arriving in Hong Kong today. The airline will receive a total of 10 of the new-generation aircraft – the world’s largest commercial air freighter – with four being delivered by the end of this year.

Commenting on the new arrival, Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Nick Rhodes said: “Cargo is a very important part of Cathay Pacific’s business, accounting for around a third of our revenues in a good year. We are very excited about bringing the 747-8F into our freighter fleet because it will give us an increased payload over a longer range with superb operating economics, enabling us to provide an even better service to our customers. These new aircraft will play an important role in our continued efforts to develop Hong Kong as a leading international air cargo hub.”

Cathay Pacific is the first Asia Pacific airline to take delivery of the Boeing 747-8F, which has employed innovative technologies to bring about significant efficiency improvements. These include a high-lift, low-drag wing that enhances payload and range performance, a simplified flap system to reduce noise and maintenance costs, and what is described as the most advanced commercial aircraft engine available, the GEnx-2B67.

The aircraft will greatly improve the efficiency and payload of Cathay Pacific’s ultra-long-haul freighter services, particularly on North American routes, and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of its operations. The new freighter’s technological innovations, including the advanced engine and use of composites and lighter alloys, will lead to significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions. The aircraft also has a noise footprint some 30% smaller than its predecessors.

With the arrival of the first Boeing 747-8F, Cathay Pacific will operate a fleet of 21 wide-body freighters serving more than 40 destinations. The airline also carries cargo in the bellies of its passenger aircraft, connecting to some 150 destinations around the world.

As part of its commitment to developing Hong Kong’s hub role, Cathay Pacific continues to add new destinations to its freighter network, recently launching services to Bengaluru in India and Chongqing and Chengdu in Western China. The airline is also building a new cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, due to open in early 2013, that will give it the ability to provide a more seamless service to shippers and freight forwarders.