Cathay Pacific CEO John Slosar tells Aviation Week the airline is evaluating the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 and expects to make a decision on whether to place an order for passenger variants in the first half of 2013.
Cathay will have phased out most of its 747-400 passenger aircraft by the end of the year, and has to deal with slot constraints at London Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, Slosar says.
And while his predecessor found cost inefficiencies with the A380 and preferred the cargo capacity of the 777-300ER, Slosar notes that the maximum takeoff weight of aircraft like the A380 changes as improvements are made to the aircraft.
Slosar also acknowledges that the 747-8 freighters already operating in Cathay’s fleet “are operating very well as freighters.” He did not say how many aircraft Cathay will need.
The CEO anticipates that Boeing’s immediate problems with the 787 program may inadvertently delay the unveiling of the airframer’s 777X. He had earlier predicted that Boeing would officially launch the 777X program in the first half of 2013, but in light of recent problems with the 787 program he says he may have to change his prediction.
Slosar reasons that the need to devote engineering resources to resolve problems with the 787’s lithium-ion batteries will divert attention from the next generation of the 777. “I haven’t heard anything recently about the 777X,” Cathay’s CEO tells Aviation Week on the sidelines of an event marking Malaysia Airlines’ entry into Oneworld.
As for the 787 program, Slosar expects the current problems will be resolved. “There’s been a bit of a stumble, but I don’t have any doubts that they [Boeing] will get this fixed. Boeing is a world-class company that knows what they are doing.”