Boeing delivered its first 747-8 freighter to Cathay Pacific Airways this week, making the Hong Kong-based airline the second carrier to take the aircraft and giving the aircraft manufacturer a needed boost in its troubled program.
The delivery to Cathay follows a troubled first delivery of the 747-8 last month to Cargolux, which at first refused to take the aircraft because of concerns over the plane’s promised fuel efficiency.
Those questions apparently have been resolved and Cathay has said it is satisfied with the operating characteristics of the next-generation widebody freighter.
Cathay said the plane, with its improved payload capacity and efficiency, will help solidify the carrier’s Hong Kong base as the central hub for air freight out of Asia.
But the deliveries — and Cathay has nine more of the planes on order — come in a lackluster air freight market that has seen shipping demand from Asia fall off in the second half of 2011 and airlines pull capacity from the region.
By the Numbers: Asia-Pacific Airlines Freight Traffic