Cathay Pacific Airways looks set to place fresh orders for Airbus A330s and/or Boeing 777s for its regional services.

Industry sources say the Hong Kong-based carrier is seeking additional twinjets for delivery in 2002 and orders are thought to be imminent, possibly through operating leases. Both the A330-300 and 777-300 are under consideration although numbers are unclear.

Cathay has been aggressively expanding despite signs of an industry slowdown and said in March that it was studying a massive fleet expansion that could double its size to 150 aircraft over the next six to eight years. It expects traffic to grow by 8% annually during the period.

Cathay operates more than 70 aircraft, all widebodies. This year alone it is growing its fleet by 11 aircraft with 14 leased and purchased A330-300s, A340-300s and 747-400 freighters, and by returning three leased A340-300s to Air China. It has confirmed plans to lease three A340-600s for delivery next year and in 2003.

Cathay is still considering a large order for A340-500/600s or 777-200LR/300ERs, and the possible purchase of more freighters and large passenger aircraft.

Source: Flight International