Don’t expect Cathay Pacific to place an order for the Airbus A380 or Boeing’s 747-8 Intercontinental any time soon.
Despite ongoing speculation that the Hong Kong carrier is set to sign up for one of the two duelling superjumbos, the airline seems quite happy with its stretched single-deck twin-engine jets such as the Boeing 777-300ER and, from 2016, the Airbus A350.
"The ‘big twins’ have definitely been very very successful for us” says Toby Smith, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager, Product. “They’re very efficient and the passengers love them, so they will definitely remain the core of our long haul fleet”.
“As for double deckers, nothing is excluded, it’s more a question of whether or not on selected routes there’s a need for a double decker” Smith tells Australian Business Traveller.
“For example, we now have four flights a day to Sydney. Would we go to five? Well actually we haven’t got any more rights – that’s still being looked at – so potentially that could be one market where you might see them, but it’s not on the horizon.”
In the meantime, Cathay Pacific is continuing the retirement of its Boeing 747-400s, with the flagship Hong Kong-London route ditching the jumbo and switching to the more modern and fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ER from the end of this year.
This will be Cathay’s eighth 747 put out to pasture since 2012, with 13 more to be progressively retired through this decade.
So what happens to a second-hand 747? Don’t go looking for them on eBay.
“We are always looking for opportunities to sell the retired aircraft as a whole or for parts” says a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman.
Boeing sometimes buys them back, and earlier this year inked a deal with Cathay to purchase four Boeing 747-400s to be converted into freighters.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.