- Special Pages
Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways, the world’s largest international air-cargo carrier, said yesterday it will cancel an order for eight Boeing 777-200F freighters due to slowing demand.
Instead the airline, which is Hong Kong’s flag carrier, has signed an agreement to buy three Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft.
It said the decision to cancel the order was made in light of its “reduced expectations for the future growth of air cargo shipments.”
Cathay Pacific has been trying to trim costs after it fell into the red in the first half of 2012 with a HK$935m ($121m) loss, partly due to high fuel prices.
In a filing made to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday it signed an agreement to buy three 747-8 freighters at the list price of $1.02bn, with options to buy five 777-200F planes.
“The company expects that the Boeing aircraft will deliver improved payload range capability at competitive operating costs,” it said, referring to the purchase of the 747-8s.
The new planes will “facilitate the restructuring” of Cathay’s freighter fleet, the statement said, adding the aircraft will be used primarily for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe.
It expects the aircraft to be delivered this year.
Cathay Pacific in December avoided facing industrial action after its flight crews threatened to stop serving alcohol and smiling at passengers as part of a “work-to-rule” action over a salary dispute.
Morocco, EU talks on free-trade accord
RABAT: Morocco and the European Union began discussions yesterday aimed at concluding a free-trade agreement, as EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso visited the country.
Such a deal “will give each better access to the other’s markets and improve the business climate in a way that will make it more predictable and stable,” Barroso said after talks with Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.
“Today, we begin negotiations on a deal to ease the procedures for obtaining visas for certain categories of persons, particularly students, researchers and businessmen and women,” he said.
Barroso, who was later to meet King Mohammed VI, also said Morocco will have received ¤660m in economic, social and institutional development aid in the three years ending this year.