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01 Oct 2007
Cathay Pacific Begins Big Fleet Expansion with Arrival of First Boeing 777-300ER Aircraft

Cathay Pacific Airways has taken delivery of the first of 23 new Boeing 777-300ER "Extended Range" aircraft that will help to redefine the long-haul travel experience for its passengers. At the same time, the airline's ongoing fleet expansion will continue to further strengthen Hong Kong's role as a leading international aviation hub.

The aircraft, registration B-KPA, goes into service as CX418 to Seoul on Wednesday and will fly regionally for a month or so before being put to work key long-haul routes, including an additional daily non-stop flight to New York starting 15 November.

Boeing handed the aircraft over to Cathay Pacific at a ceremony at the manufacturer's plant in Seattle in the United States. The delivery flight departed for Hong Kong with a number of VIPs and media representatives on board and arrived at Hong Kong International Airport late Friday night.

The fuel-efficient 777-300ER will enable Cathay Pacific to fly more passengers non-stop to major destinations in cabins that feature the airline's acclaimed new long-haul product. The three-class configuration features luxurious suites in First Class, full-flat Business Class beds with total privacy, and revolutionary Economy Class seats that recline within a fixed shell to improve passenger space and comfort.

The new product also features a brand-new state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system that offers audio and video on demand in all three classes featuring 50 movies, more than 100 TV shows, 160-plus CDs, 22 radio channels, and up to 96 games.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "We are delighted to receive our first Boeing 777-300ER, which marks the beginning of a new phase of expansion for Cathay Pacific and a further boost for the continued development of the Hong Kong hub. These are superb aircraft that 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. They are very efficient aircraft, too, and we will see a big reduction in fuel burn, which is very important in these environmentally conscious times."

The 777-300ER employs advanced technology that offers a number of environmental improvements including considerably reduced fuel burn (22-24% lower per seat compared to the Boeing 747-400), engine efficiency improvements, and design changes that reduce drag and aircraft weight. The aircraft also uses a new type of paint to provide a smoother finish, reducing aerodynamic drag and resulting in lower fuel burn.

A total of five 777-300ERs will be delivered to the airline this year and will be used to help the airline expand its North American services. The early deliveries will be used to turn New York into a thrice-daily service from 15 November, with a second daily non-stop flight added. Cathay Pacific will take delivery of five more 777-300ERs in 2008, another five in 2009, three in 2010 and five in 2011.

The airline's first 777-300ER is the fourth aircraft fitted with all three classes of Cathay Pacific's revolutionary new long-haul product. Two other aircraft, both Airbus A330-300s, feature the product in Business and Economy Class. Fourteen aircraft will be fitted with the new product by the end of 2007. The whole Cathay Pacific long-haul fleet - a total of 67 aircraft including the existing fleet and new additions - will feature the new cabins. All new arrivals will come with the product fitted while the last retrofit will be completed in 2009.

Almost 1,000 Cathay Pacific staff will have a sneak preview of the aircraft and its long-haul product at a special open day being held on Tuesday, 2 October. The airline will also introduce the aircraft to the local community, with a unique flight being held for families from Tung Chung on Sunday, 14 October that will target those who have previously never had the opportunity to fly.

With the latest arrival Cathay Pacific now operates a fleet of 108 aircraft - 89 passenger aircraft and 19 freighters. The passenger fleet comprises 24 Boeing 747-400s, five Boeing 777-200s, 12 Boeing 777-300s, one Boeing 777-300ER, 29 A330-300s, 15 A340-300s and three A340-600s. The airline currently has a total of 32 aircraft on firm order.