Cathay Pacific First for Boeing Conversion

Cathay Pacific First for Boeing Conversion

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Boeing confirmed on January 8 that Cathay Pacific Airways will be the launch customer for its 747-400 passenger-to-freighter conversion program.

The U.S. manufacturer reached agreement with the Hong Kong-based carrier to convert six Cathay Pacific 747-400 passenger aircraft into freighters, with Cathay Pacific holding an option to convert six additional 747-400s. Cathay Pacific will receive its first converted "special freighter" in December 2005.

The six converted aircraft will all be delivered by the end of 2007. Cathay Pacific also agreed to purchase one new 747-400 freighter, to be delivered in February 2005.

"The decision to acquire both new and converted freighters makes sound economic sense, both as a way to make best use of our existing aircraft assets and to ramp up air cargo capacity in the most cost-effective way," said Philip Chen, Cathay Pacific director and chief operating officer.

Cathay Pacific currently operates five 747-400 freighters and six 747-200 freighters.

The airline says it will be use the converted aircraft on cargo routes within Asia and for flights to North America and Europe.

According to Boeing, 747-400 passenger planes being converted to freighters will receive a side cargo door and be reconfigured to a layout "identical" to the 747-400 production freighter.

The converted 747-400 freighter will have an estimated capacity of 250,200 lbs (113,490 kg) and will be capable of 870,000 lbs (394,625 kg) maximum takeoff weight.