Yesterday marked the ceremonial delivery of Cathay Pacific’s first 747-8F. 747-8 Program Chief Elizabeth Lund and Cathay Pacific Cargo Director Nick Rhodes were on hand for certificate signing, ribbon cutting, and discussions of the program and what the 747-8F will do for Cathay.
The star of the show, however, was B-LJA (msn: 39238), unveiled dramatically to an eager crowd at the Future of Flight Museum, located at the northwest corner of Paine Field. B-LJA is painted in a special “Hong Kong Trader” color scheme designed to harken back to when Cathay first launched 747 main-deck cargo operations in the early 1980s. Cathay’s first freighter was a 747-200B, VR-HVY (msn: 22306) christened “Hong Kong Trader,” it served with Cathay until 2008.
The first Cathay 747-8F to be physically delivered and potentially enter service is expected to be B-LJE (msn: 39242), which may be delivered in the next few days. Several more Cathay 747-8Fs are on the flight line at Paine Field being readied for delivery, while one more is in the final assembly position in the factory. Altogether Cathay has ten 747-8Fs on order, with delivery through the end of 2012. The -8Fs will be used exclusively on trans-Pacific routes from Hong Kong, with services to other destinations operated by a mix of 747-400Fs, -400ERFs and -400BCFs in the Cathay fleet. Beginning in 2014 Cathay will begin taking delivery of new 777Fs, which are being acquired to serve intra-Asia routes.
Photographer: Alex Kwanten