Cathay Pacific Airways claims that mixed-fleet flying on its Airbus Industrie A330s and A340s has yielded crew-cost savings of up to 25%. The Hong Kong-based airline is a world leader in two-engine/four-engine mixed-fleet flying.

Capt John Bent, Cathay's flying training manager (policy), says that, following the initial costs of developing and winning approval for a mixed-fleet flying crew-training programme, rostering efficiencies are now delivering Airbus A330/A340 fleet aircrew cost-reductions of about 25%, compared with the costs of operating the two types as separate fleets. He was speaking at the 22-25 April International Training and Education Conference, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Without naming a figure, Bent says that he is talking "big money". To date, Cathay has six A340-300s and 11 A330-300s, and 165 pilots "-are flying both Airbus types routinely on a mixed-fleet roster".

The airline has been introducing Boeing 777-200 twins simultaneously. Cathay Pacific employs a total of 1,300 aircrew.

The Airbus training organisation has modified its instruction techniques to concentrate on Airbus-specific crew-resource management for pilots, cabin crew and ground maintenance staff. The techniques derive from line experience and emphasise communication and a positive approach to mistakes as part of a continual learning process. The manufacturer has also played its part in arranging A320 on-line training for China Eastern Airlines' ab initio pilots as first-officers with Air France, followed by a cross-crew-qualification conversion course on to China Eastern's A340s.

Source: Flight International