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Hong Kong-based CATHAY PACIFIC AIRLINES said that delays in the delivery of the 747-8 Freighters it has on order with BOEING will likely leave it short of capacity in the May-to-July period next year. Cathay had been scheduled to begin receiving its 747-8Fs in January, with six of the ten units it has on order coming in 2011. However, the recently announced 747-8 program delay means the first unit will not arrive until August. The problem for Cathay is that it is committed to transfer four of its 747-400BCFs in the first half of 2011 to the new joint venture it is forming with AIR CHINA, capacity it had planned to replace with the new 747-8Fs. Cathay said the extent of the problem would depend on when the joint venture received final approval from the PRC government. To cope with the shortage the carrier said it would juggle its maintenance schedules and increase aircraft utilization, but is also reported to have said it might be forced to turn to short term leasing of additional main-deck lift. The good news is that the remaining five of the planned 2011 deliveries will follow almost immediately after the first, with all six units in the fleet by September – in time for the 2011 peak season. The remaining four will be delivered in 2012.
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