Cathay Pacific Airways will continue to invest in modernising its fleet as part of its strategy to remain a carrier of choice by offering one of the best travel experiences to its passengers, a senior executive at the airline revealed.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar, who led the team of Cathay Pacific to receive the 29th Boeing 777-300 ER plane at the Boeing Everett facility in Seattle, USA, told reporters that the global aviation industry was passing through a very challenging time.
John Slosar onboard CX-3337 Cathay Pacific flight from Seattle Boeing delivery centre to Hong Kong told media that the airlines revenues had been largely eroded by the spiralling fuel costs.
For example, he said, fuel constitutes almost 42% of Cathay Pacific running costs, however being a part of the global aviation industry, Cathay hopes things would change.
John, who addressed a gala dinner at Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle, made explicit remarks of Cathay Pacific’s plans to continue investing in the fleet as well as heavy investments in infrastructure development at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Cathay Pacific Group has committed over HK$5.9 billion in developing the state-of-the-art new Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong airport repositioning it as one of the world’s leading cargo hubs.
“We are making heavy investments in human resources development, infrastructure and buying new aircrafts as part of the Cathay Group’s strategy aimed at maintaining the leadership position,” John said, adding that the launch of innovative products would also help Cathay to retain its client base in all segments.
For example, the latest B-777-300ER, is a state of the art plane, has a unique configuration of seats with an addition of 34-seats cabin of Premium Economy Class.
Chief Executive said that Cathay would continue to focus and on products and services as well as adding more fuel efficient planes to its fleet.
“The introduction of the premium economy will offer a great choice to travellers to choose between business class and economy. This segment has been created for the long haul flights where passengers need to enjoy a travel with comfort and affordable prices. We will continue to offer tailor-made products and the best services by keeping the rich tradition of hospitality alive,” he added.
Elaborating on the fleet expansion, John said that if the squeezing profitability, due to fuel costs, dries up the order list it will not be helpful for any airline to keep abreast with the dynamic trends in the aviation industry.
“For very simple reason and to be remained a trendsetter in the aviation industry, Cathay Pacific will continue to invest in the best aircrafts,” he said.
Last month, Cathay Pacific Airways said that, subject to the approval of the Board of the Company, it will enter into an agreement with Airbus to convert 16 of its previously ordered Airbus A350-900 aircraft into larger Airbus A350-1000 aircraft and to exercise an option to purchase an additional 10 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
The list price of the 10 aircraft is about HK$25.565 billion and the incremental list price for the conversion is about HK$8.457 billion.
“This is an important and strategic development for Cathay Pacific. The A350-1000 aircraft will bring us world-beating fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness. It will also be a very popular aircraft with our customers and its improved payload and range will allow us to connect more and more important cities worldwide directly with Hong Kong. With this order, Cathay Pacific will have a total of 100 aircraft on order for delivery by 2020 comprising an aggregate investment at list prices of HK$ 218 billion,” John said.
Following this latest order, the airline will have 22 Airbus A350-900s and 26 Airbus A350-1000s on order. The A350-1000 aircraft will be powered by the higher thrust version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine.
“This announcement from one of the world’s most highly respected airlines is a clear endorsement of the unbeatable operating economics offered by the A350 XWB. The A350-1000 will be a game changer in the 350-seat category, offering outstanding payload-range capability, new levels of comfort and a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn. We look forward to building on our long-term relationship with Cathay Pacific as the airline brings new levels of efficiency to the long haul market,” Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier, quoted saying in response of Cathay Pacific Airways plans.