The airline has entered into an agreement with Airbus S.A.S. to buy 15 more Airbus A330-300s and a separate agreement with The Boeing Company for 10 more Boeing 777-300ERs. It has also inked a deal with aircraft leasing company International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) to add two more Airbus A350-900s. All of these new aircraft will be delivered before the end of 2015.
The 27 new aircraft have a list price of about HK$51 billion, but will be acquired at a considerable discount, as is the usual practice in such transactions.
The latest orders come on top of the airline’s biggest-ever order, made in September last year, for 30 Airbus A350-900s to be delivered from 2016 to 2019 and six Boeing 777-300ERs to be delivered between 2013 to 2014. The latest order will enable the airline to replace older, less fuel-efficient aircraft as they are progressively retired from the fleet and at the same time continue with the expansion of its passenger network.
Cathay Pacific now has a total of 91 new aircraft on order for delivery between now and 2019. Their value at list prices is about HK$185 billion. In addition, Cathay Pacific is investing HK$5.5 billion in the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal now being built at Hong Kong International Airport, and another HK$1 billion in new products and services, including a new Business Class seat, from now to the end of this decade.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said today: “We are very pleased to be able to underscore our commitment to our home city, Hong Kong, through this latest aircraft order. Both the Airbus A330-300 and the Boeing 777-300ER are modern, fuel efficient aircraft that have already proved their value in our fleet. Together with the new Airbus A350-900, they will provide us with exactly the right balance in our fleet portfolio through to the end of the decade.
“Our plan is to retire our 21 Boeing 747-400 and 11 Airbus 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. This is important both for environmental reasons and from a financial perspective as fuel remains our greatest single cost.
“Cathay Pacific has ambitious plans moving forward and we need to ensure that we have a highly efficient and environmentally friendly fleet to meet those plans.”
The 15 new A330-300s being purchased from Airbus S.A.S. will be delivered between 2013 and 2015 and will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. Cathay Pacific already operates the world’s biggest fleet of this aircraft type, which it uses primarily to destinations in the Asia Pacific region.
With the purchase of the 10 additional Boeing 777-300ERs, Cathay Pacific will have a total 46 of this aircraft type. Eighteen 777-300ERs are already flying for the airline, providing highly efficient operations on long-haul and ultra-long-haul routes. All the new Boeing aircraft will be powered by General Electric GE90 engines.
The two Airbus A350-900s being ordered through ILFC will be delivered in 2015 and will be the first of the aircraft type to enter the Cathay Pacific fleet, enabling the airline to address capacity and growth opportunities. The other 30 Airbus A350-900s will be delivered during 2016-2019 and all will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.