Cathay Delays Delivery of Two Boeing Freighters

December 19, 2011

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Cathay Pacific Airways said on Monday that it has pushed back delivery of two Boeing 747-8F freighters to 2013, cutting cargo capacity growth to 10 percent next year from an original 17 percent amid weak cargo demand.

The world's largest cargo carrier ordered a total of 10 Boeing 747-8F planes and received four this year, with the rest originally scheduled for 2012.

"We will continue to take delivery of four next year and two in 2013," said Cathay spokeswoman Carolyn Leung.

Chief executive John Slosar said in the airline's monthly staff magazine CXWorld that 2011 had been a much bumpier ride after the highs of 2010.

The usual year-end rush for cargo had not arrived but passenger bookings for the Christmas period were pretty good, he said.

"As for what happens after that, well, a lot will depend on the world economy," he said. "If, as is usually the case, cargo is a lead indictor and our passenger business starts to decline then of course we need to be prepared."

"Cathay's cargo throughput has been falling since the beginning of the year and news on the delivery delay should help as cargo growth is unlikely to rise 17-18 percent next year," said Daiwa Securities analyst Kelvin Lau.

Last week, Cathay reported a 13.8 percent fall in cargo throughput for November and said the passenger outlook was uncertain for 2012.

IATA cut its forecast for industry profits earlier this month and warned that the industry could suffer losses if Europe's debt problems triggered another banking crisis.