Cathay Pacific Airways is leaning on Boeing to press ahead with the proposed 747 Advanced as a possible alternative to the Airbus A380.'We have not ordered the A380 and we are talking to Boeing to see what it can offer with the 747 Advanced,' says Cathay Pacific chief executive David Turnbull.

The airline is a long-standing target of Airbus as a potential customer for the 550-seat A380. Buoyed by a faster-than-expected recovery from the post-SARS scare, Cathay is in expansionist mode and is one of the few major Asian carriers that has so far not secured orders for the A380 in the run-up to meet expected capacity needs later this decade.

The airline was a major driving force behind Boeing's earlier 747-800X stretch study, and with Lufthansa, Qantas and Singapore Airlines, continues to stand behind the 747 Advanced project that Boeing now intends to power with 7E7 derivative engines. The proposed stretch 747 Advanced passenger version will be 74.2m (243ft) long - 3.5m longer than the current -400 - while the freighter variant will be stretched 5.1m to 75.8m.

Due to its dependence on 7E7 engines, and particularly the development of smaller 2.6m fan-diameter variants to fit beneath the existing wing, service entry is targeted for around 2009 - three years after the A380.

Source: Flight International