Carrier plans to use the aircraft to increase services to Los Angeles and Sydney

Air Pacific is close to signing for two Boeing 747-400s and a medium-haul widebody that will be used to boost frequencies and offer more seats on busy routes.

"We are well advanced in negotiations to acquire two 747-400s to be introduced in March and June next year, with our 747-200 to be retired next June," says Air Pacific chief executive John Campbell.

He declines to say who the aircraft are being leased or purchased from until the deal is signed. Its 747-200 is leased from Qantas, which owns 46% of the carrier.

Air Pacific had been expected to introduce more services and add capacity before the end of the year with the lease of another 747-200 or -400. It now seems Air Pacific has decided against an interim lease of another 747. It may, however, charter an aircraft from Qantas when needed.

When the two 747s are delivered, services to Los Angeles will increase to four weekly, and daily Sydney services will be offered, replacing three weekly 767 services and one 747 service.

A medium-haul aircraft is also expected to join Air Pacific's two 737-800s and two 747-400s in 2003.

"We are also well advanced in negotiations for the 250-300 seat aircraft type, with finalising expected in early November, but the final aircraft type is not decided as we await further input from both Boeing and Airbus," says Campbell.

More frequencies and seats will also be offered on some other routes as the new aircraft are introduced.

Source: Flight International