Cathay Pacific has announced that it will retire three Boeing 747-400BCFs this year. Although the carrier will still take delivery of three additional Boeing 747-8Fs in 2012, with two more arriving in 2013, the retirements mean that freighter capacity growth will be flat this year. Earlier company projections pegged freighter growth for 2012 at 3 percent.
The carrier also announced that it’s now aiming for 4-percent growth in its total cargo capacity (belly-hold and freighter), rather than the 7-percent growth it had anticipated for 2012. Officials say the culprits are staggering fuel prices and challenging market conditions.
Cathay Pacific and wholly owned subsidiary Dragonair will also slash capacity on certain long-haul passenger routes, canceling flights to North America and Europe. In addition, the company will begin to retire less fuel-efficient craft. Plus, Cathay Pacific will make ad-hoc cancellations in correspondence with market demand, according to a press release.
John Slosar, CEO of Cathay Pacific, defended the carrier’s cutbacks, stating that they will help Cathay Pacific remain profitable in an unfavorable market. “The airline’s financial position remains strong,” he said, “which will enable us, despite the current difficult trading conditions, to maintain the quality of our products and services and to continue with our long-term strategic investment in the business.”
One such investment is Cathay Pacific’s new HK$5.7 billion cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, which is slated to open early next year. In the press release, Cathay maintained that the launch of this facility is unaffected by the cost-reduction measures.