HONG KONG (AP) — Cathay Pacific Airways has ordered 17 new Boeing planes worth $5.2 billion (3.53 billion euros) as it seeks to update its cargo fleet and develop long-haul passenger services, the company said Thursday.
The new planes include 10 Boeing 747-8 freighters and seven 777-300ER passenger planes to be delivered between 2009-2012, the company said in a statement. The Hong Kong-based carrier also said it had taken purchase rights for another 14 of the new cargo planes.
Chief executive Tony Tyler told reporters the airline plans as well to buy more of the passenger planes ''some time in the future,'' given robust outlook for demand on routes to North America and Europe. It has said the Boeing 777-300ER will become the backbone of its longhaul fleet, succeeding the slightly larger Boeing 747-400.
''When we did the deal with Boeing for the 777-300s, Boeing knew and we knew that we will likely be a much bigger customer for the (aircraft) than the initial order,'' Tyler said.
Tyler said the airline is also looking to order aircraft to support the rise in demand on short-haul, regional routes and the launch of new services, but declined to elaborate. It operates a fleet of Airbus A330 and a variant of the Boeing 777s on regional flights.
Cathay Pacific said the 747-8 freighters on order will replace seven older Boeing 747-200 aircraft and boost the airline's total cargo capacity. The airline's cargo fleet will rise by 50 percent by 2012, given orders already made for new and converted 747s.
With new aircraft on order, Cathay Pacific said its fleet will rise to 147 planes in 2012 from 110 currently.
The company said it will pay for the transaction in six installments and fund the deal through commercial bank loans, other debt instruments or cash from its operations. The airline didn't disclose the actual purchase price for the aircraft. Airlines usually receive significant price concessions from the list price on large orders.