Cathay Pacific Airways celebrated the 100th aircraft to join its fleet by taking delivery of an Airbus A330-300 at a ceremony at the manufacturer's base in Toulouse, France. The aircraft was presented in special livery to mark the achievement and named "Progress Hong Kong." A further five A330-300s are scheduled to join the Cathay Pacific fleet in 2007 and 2008.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific already operates one of the largest Airbus fleets in the Asia-Pacific region, with 26 A330-300s, 15 A340-300s and three A340-600s currently in service. The A330-300 fleet operates on medium-range regional routes, as well as longer sectors to Australia. The A340-300s and A340-600s operate ultra long-haul non-stop routes between Hong Kong, Europe and North America. The A340-600s have been operating daily non-stop services between Hong Kong and New York since July 2004.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer, Philip Chen said: "Our latest aircraft not only caps 60 years of great achievements, but also heralds a new era of expansion for the airline. In the past 10 years we have doubled our fleet size and by 2010 we will operate more than 130 aircraft. This continued growth represents the confidence we have in the airline, and also the confidence we have in Hong Kong's future as a centre for business and tourism, and as a passenger and freight hub of international importance. Our recent acquisition of Dragonair underlines our commitment to the city and will, I believe, create new synergies that can only benefit Hong Kong."
Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers John Leahy said: "Over the past 60 years, Cathay Pacific Airways has built a reputation for being one of the world's most visionary and prestigious carriers. Airbus is very proud to have been part of Cathay Pacific's success story during a period full of enormous challenges. We are proud of the steadily growing fleet of A330s and A340s efficiently operating on the airline's regional and intercontinental long-haul network. In the spirit of true partnership, Airbus is delighted to share in Cathay Pacific's anniversary celebrations and the delivery of its 100th aircraft today."
Cathay Pacific was the first airline in the world to have established a mixed A330/340 fleet operation, fully exploiting the unique common design concept pioneered by Airbus. Sharing the same cockpit layout, operational procedures and handling characteristics, the aircraft are operated by Cathay Pacific as a single fleet, with pilots qualified to fly both types on a regular basis. Further benefits are also achieved through streamlined maintenance procedures as a result of the high level of common on-board systems and airframe components shared by the A330 and A340.
Cathay Pacific's latest A330 delivery further reinforces the success of the A330/A340 Family as the preferred choice of airlines worldwide in the medium- to long-range segment, with over 900 total orders from more than 60 customers. The A330/A340 Family has been especially successful in the region with more than 230 aircraft in service with 19 airlines in Asia-Pacific.
Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.