Date
23 January 2017
Cathay Pacific CEO Ivan Chu (L) and Chairman John Slosar address a news conference in Hong Kong Wednesday following the carrier’s 2015 results announcement. Photo: Bloomberg
Cathay Pacific CEO Ivan Chu (L) and Chairman John Slosar address a news conference in Hong Kong Wednesday following the carrier’s 2015 results announcement. Photo: Bloomberg

Cathay hopes to cut costs with new A350 planes

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) hopes to bring down its costs and boost profits further with the planned addition of new Airbus A350 aircraft to its fleet.

The Hong Kong flag-carrier will receive 12 new A350 aircraft this year, with the first one due in May, Chief Executive Ivan Chu said in a post-results briefing Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.

Airbus claims that the A350 aircraft are 25 percent more fuel efficient than comparable planes from competitors.

The new planes are expected to help Cathay trim expenses as it modernizes its fleet.

“If you want to lower cost and be more efficient, new airplanes are what you want,” Cathay Chairman John Slosar was quoted as saying at the same briefing.

Cathay is trying to cut costs and enhance productivity after passenger yields slid 11 percent last year amid heightened competition from mainland Chinese airlines, Bloomberg noted.

As part of its fleet renewal, Cathay has taken four Boeing 747s and five Airbus A340s out of operation since the beginning of 2015 and plans to bring forward the retirement of three more 747-400s to this year from 2017, the report said.

Cathay had 146 planes in its fleet at the end of last year and 70 more on order, including 48 A350s.

The Hong Kong-based carrier announced Wednesday that its profit nearly doubled in 2015 due to a steep drop in oil prices and a rise in passenger numbers.

Net income jumped 90.5 percent from a year earlier to HK$6 billion (US$773 million), despite a loss of HK$8.74 billion on fuel hedges.

The airline has hedged some of its fuel purchases into 2019 and will continue to hedge as a risk-management tool, Chu said at the briefing. 

Cathay’s capacity grew 5.9 percent last year and the carrier hopes to raise it another 4-5 percent in 2016. 

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FL/RC

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