Cathay Pacific orders 17 Boeing freighters and extended range planes

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said Thursday it would buy 17 new Boeing aircraft to replenish and expand its fleet capacity. At list prices, the deal would amount to $5.20 billion. It did not disclose the purchase price of the aircraft, though airlines usually receive significant concessions from the list price on large orders.

The Hong Kong-based airline said it would buy 10 Boeing 747-8 freighters and seven Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) passenger planes with delivery between 2009 and 2012.

Chief executive Tony Tyler told reporters the airline plans to buy more Boeing 777s "some time in the future," given the robust outlook for demand on routes to North America and Europe from Asia.

Cathay has said earlier that the Boeing 777-300ER will become the backbone of its long-haul fleet, succeeding the slightly larger Boeing 747-400. "When we did the deal with Boeing for the 777-300s, Boeing knew and we knew that we will likely be a much bigger customer for the (aircraft) than the initial order," said Tyler.

The airline first announced plans to buy the 777-300ERs in December 2005, with a firm order of 16 and options for an additional 20.

Tyler also said the airline is looking to order aircraft to support the rise in demand on short-haul, regional routes and the launch of new services, but declined to elaborate.