Cathay Pacific cancels freighter aircraft order

Cathay Pacific Airways, the world's largest international air-cargo carrier, said Friday it will cancel an order for eight

Boeing 777-200F freighters due to slowing demand.

Instead the airline, which is Hong Kong's flag carrier, has signed an agreement to buy three Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft.

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It said the decision to cancel the order was made in light of its "reduced expectations for the future growth of air cargo shipments."

Cathay Pacific has been trying to trim costs after it fell into the red in the first half of 2012 with a HK$935 million ($121 million) loss, partly due to high fuel prices.

In a filing made to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday it signed an agreement to buy three 747-8 freighters at the list price of $1.02 billion, with options to buy five 777-200F planes.

"The company expects that the Boeing aircraft will deliver improved payload range capability at competitive operating costs," it said, referring to the purchase of the 747-8s.

The new planes will "facilitate the restructuring" of Cathay's freighter fleet, the statement said, adding the aircraft will be used primarily for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe.

It expects the aircraft to be delivered this year.

Cathay Pacific in December avoided facing industrial action after its flight crews threatened to stop serving alcohol and smiling at passengers as part of a "work-to-rule" action over a salary dispute.

The protest was sparked by Cathay's announcement last November that it was giving a two percent pay rise to its employees in 2013, falling short of the staff union's demands.

© 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Mar 1, 2013