Hong Kong carrier wants to buy more widebody twins and 15 used Boeing 747s

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways is assessing proposals from Airbus and Boeing for additional twin-engined widebodies to boost capacity in anticipation of a continuing market upturn.

Separately, the airline has issued requests for proposals (RFP) and requests for information (RFI) to aircraft lessors and airlines seeking 15 used Boeing 747-400s, with some to be converted to freighters.

Industry sources say Cathay issued RFPs to Airbus and Boeing in mid-December covering up to nine Airbus A330-300s or Boeing 777-300s for use on intra-Asian routes. The sources say Cathay expects strong growth in demand next year and wants deliveries to start in the first quarter of 2005, although this could slip to the second quarter.

Proposals have already been received from the two manufacturers and orders are likely before the end of March. The sources say Cathay may split the order between Airbus and Boeing.

Cathay already operates 23 A330-300s and nine 777-300s, in addition to five 777-200s. All are powered by Rolls-Royce engines. One more 777-300 is on firm order and will be delivered shortly.

Separately, Cathay issued RFPs and RFIs in late-December for 15 used 747-400s, say the sources. Its preference is for R-R RB211-powered examples to maintain commonality with its existing fleet.

Source: Flight International