Cathay Pacific Airways has signed a contract with Airbus to further expand its A330 widebody fleet with the addition of eight A330-300 aircraft. The new aircraft, powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, are scheduled for delivery before the end of 2012.
The Hong Kong based carrier, together with sister airline Dragonair, is currently the largest operator of A330 aircraft in the world with a fleet of 45 A330-300s currently in service across its combined international route network. Together with three leased A330-300s scheduled for delivery in 2008, this latest order will bring the airlines' combined A330-300 fleet to a total of 56 by 2012. The airline operates its fleet of twin engine A330-300s on regional and medium haul routes such as between Hong Kong and Sydney, Delhi, Tokyo and Beijing.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "This is another significant development for the Cathay Pacific Group as we continue expanding our regional and long-haul fleets to further strengthen Hong Kong's position as a leading international aviation hub. The A330 is the most efficient aircraft for our regional and medium-haul fleet and we are delighted that with this order our fleet will grow to more than 50 such aircraft. These new aircraft will be deployed by both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair as our regional and Mainland networks continue to grow."
Cathay Pacific's latest order of the A330 further reinforces the success of the A330/A340 Family as the preferred choice of airline's worldwide in the medium to long-range segment. Responding particularly to the needs of Asia-Pacific carriers, the region has become a key A330/A340 market, with the A330 flying primarily on high capacity regional routes and the A340 offering ETOPS-free, ultra-long range service to Europe and North America, as well as between eastern Asia and the Pacific region.
Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers John Leahy said: "To receive a repeat order from one of the world's most prestigious airlines is an endorsement of the popularity of the A330. Cathay Pacific's decision is a clear affirmation of the aircraft's benefits and its suitability for traffic growth across the dynamic Asia Pacific region."
There are currently in excess of 800 A330/A340 Family aircraft in operation worldwide with 90 operators, and more than 600 such aircraft in Airbus' substantial backlog of orders. The A330/A340 Family has been especially successful in Asia Pacific with 270 aircraft in service with 23 airlines, including almost every major international carrier in the region.
With a true wide-body fuselage allowing very high comfort standards, the A330-300 is able to accommodate seat and class configurations to suit the diverse customer requirements. It has a range of up to 5,650 nm / 10,500 km with a full passenger load. Highly efficient and optimized for the medium - to extended range market, the A330-300 offers the best balance between range and cost. The A330-300 remains the most economic means of flying 300 or so passengers on medium range routes in true long haul comfort.
Airbus is an EADS company.