Cathay Pacific stated (09-Mar-2011) it took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2010. In Aug-2010, the carrier announced it biggest-ever aircraft order: 30 A350-900s (to be delivered between 2016 and 2019) and six more B777-300ERs. In Dec-2010, a further two Airbus A350-900s were ordered. In Mar-2011, the carrier stated it would further boost its investment in fleet modernisation and growth by adding a further 27 aircraft - 15 A330-300s, 10 B777-300ERs and two 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 HKD51 billion (USD6.5 billion), although the aircraft "will be acquired at a considerable discount". Cathay Pacific is also in discussions which could result in the acquisition of 14 further aircraft. The carrier also noted the delay in the delivery of its B747-8Fs, with the first now scheduled to arrive in Aug-2011. 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 HKD185 billion (USD24 billion). The carrier plans to retire its 21 B747-400s and 11 A340-300 aircraft before the end of the decade as the carrier takes delivery progressively of new aircraft. The average age of aircraft within Cathay's fleet stands at around 20 years. [more]
Cathay Pacific to add 27 more aircraft to modernise fleet; in discussions for further 14
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Cathay Pacific ends 747 flights, its future defined not by 777s/A350s but by diversifying
For 37 years the Boeing 747 brought Cathay Pacific to the world. As it did for so many operators, the 747 transformed Cathay into a global airline. Cathay's final passenger 747 flight was on 01-Oct-2016. The occasion is filled with sentiment and the usual remarks of being the end of an era; the aircraft of course is iconic, and Cathay, which turned 70 in Sep-2016, has known the 747 for longer than it has not.
Yet the 747 era at Cathay ended long ago. The 747 gave Cathay a global footprint, but this is true for most current and former 747 operators. Cathay's position today against competitors is defined not by network reach but rather – depth. Mainland Chinese airlines, some of Cathay's closest competitors, know they have the local market and lower costs but acknowledge the one-stop challenge Cathay brings with hyperfrequency and a stronger product/brand.
That depth and domination, especially in the key North American market, was achieved with the 777-300ER. Cathay operates 53 777-300ERs – more than twice the 24 747-400s the airline had at its peak. Although A350s are arriving, Cathay's next evolution is defined not by aircraft and flying but rather by bringing new non-flying businesses into the group. For aviation this is seen as a partial surrender to competition. For the company it is a graduation to consistent and higher profits. As with the 747, it is time to move on and pursue a more productive future.
Cathay Pacific adds A350 to Vancouver, preparing for Hong Kong Airlines' long haul entry
Cathay Pacific's fortunes have been weakened in recent years as competition mounts, mostly from greater regional capacity, some of which feeds other airlines' long haul hubs. Locally Cathay has faced home market competition from Hong Kong Airlines and LCC HK Express, which together have weakened Cathay on its regional services. Yet Cathay has been relatively insulated from the growing direct competition on long haul routes, which have supported its network in recent times and account for a high share of revenue.
Hong Kong Airlines is growing long haul to Australia and New Zealand, but its major threat to Cathay is on North American and European routes, to be launched with forthcoming A350s. Cathay appears to be making a pre-emptive strike by deploying its attention-getting A350 to increase flights to Vancouver, which Cathay expects to be an early Hong Kong Airlines destination.
This is the first time that Cathay is growing Vancouver since the entry of Oasis Hong Kong in 2007. After Oasis' subsequent collapse Cathay withdrew the additional capacity it had mounted. Hong Kong Airlines, however, has stronger backing – HNA – and is already known in the territory. Hong Kong Airlines' impact is guaranteed, but the question is to what extent. This depends on how Hong Kong Airlines sharpens as it becomes the city's second flagship airline.