Cathay to phase out three 747-400s by September

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Cathay Pacific Airways has provided more details on its Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft phase out plan as the carrier will take delivery of 19 new aircraft this year, which is expected to improve the operational efficiency of its fleet.

In view of the high fuel prices, the carrier will accelerate the retirement of 747-400s with three units to be retired over the next month. As at 8 August, Cathay operated a fleet of 21 aircraft but, according to a document, the carrier intends to retire two more 747-400s in March next year, one aircraft in June and another aircraft in September and November 2013. By the end of 2013, its 747-400 fleet will total 13 aircraft.

Of the current aircraft fleet, 17 747-400s are owned and four are under operating lease contracts. One operating lease expires in the second half of this year, while two aircraft will be returned in 2015. The final 747-400 on lease is due in 2016.

Cathay's cargo fleet totalled 24 747 Freighters at 30 June 2012 with six aircraft owned, four under operating lease contracts and 14 aircraft under finance lease agreements. The leases on two 747-400BCF expire in 2013. One aircraft will be returned in 2014, while the remaining 747-400 BCF is due after 2017.

Having recently completed the sale of a third 747-400BCF to Air China Cargo, Cathay is expected to sell an additional aircraft to the cargo joint venture later this year.

The carrier continues to phase out its 747-400BCF fleet as it integrates the 747-8F model. As at 30 June 2012, it operated five 747-8Fs and another three are expected in the second half of this year. The final two 747-8Fs are expected in April and July 2013. These aircraft will provide more capacity and improved efficiency on its North American routes, says Cathay.