Note: The following article is expanded from the current issue of Cargo Facts Update. We encourage those of you who do not already subscribe to the weekly Update, and its companion the monthly printed Cargo Facts newsletter, to click here for more information.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific is considering the 777F and/or the A330-200F. Top Cathay officials met with Airbus representatives in Hong Kong on May 18 to discuss a possible transaction, and right now, the decision boils down to price. Cathay, which has ten 747-8Fs on order, is not certain how many regional freighters it will add over the next few years, but is leaning toward a schedule of two per year starting in 2013 or 2014. Cathay plans to make the orders within the next few weeks.
In related news, Air Hong Kong (AHK) confirmed that it will dry lease at least three 747-400BCFs from Cathay Pacific. Air Hong Kong, a 60/40 joint venture of Cathay and DHL, currently operates eight A300-600Fs and ACMI leases a 727-200F from Malaysia-based Transmile Air Services. AHK mainly flies for DHL, and will use the new freighters for DHL traffic. In fact, AHK pilots have already begun their training to begin flying the 747 freighters “within a couple of weeks.” AHK also has an option on a fourth 747-400 freighter from Cathay, and all signs indicate that it will exercise the option and add the freighter to its fleet (Cathay officials talk about the fourth freighter as if it were already in AHK’s hangar). Cargo Facts also spoke to DHL officials who said they will approve the dry lease of the fourth aircraft. Finally, AHK officials themselves implied that taking the option was all but a done deal, and Cargo Facts expects AHK to exercise the option within the next several weeks.