Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways has outlined initial plans for its new fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs, the first of which it took delivery of late last week.

The Oneworld alliance carrier says in a statement that its first 777-300ER is due to enter service tomorrow on the Hong Kong-Seoul route. It will fly regionally for around a month before going into service on long-haul routes.

Cathay has firm lease and purchase commitments for 23 777-300ERs and it plans to have five in service before the end of this year.

In the initial stages they will primarily be used to expand services to North America, including to add another daily non-stop service to New York starting on 15 November.

cathay pacific 777-300ER
© Royal S King

Another five 777-300ERs are due to be delivered in 2008, five more in 2009, three in 2010 and five in 2011.

The aircraft are also being equipped with a new in-flight product that Cathay is retrofitting into existing long-haul aircraft. It says its first 777-300ER is the fourth aircraft in its fleet with the new long-haul product in all three classes.

Cathay placed its first orders for 777-300ERs late in 2005, when it committed to acquiring 12 on purchase arrangements from Boeing and another four on lease from International Lease Finance. It later added more firm orders.

CEO Tony Tyler says the twinjets “will form the backbone of our long-haul fleet in the coming years and enable us to strengthen our non-stop ultra-long-haul services, particularly to North America”.

Source: FlightGlobal.com