Houston Airport System
Houston Welcomes Cathay Pacific Airways new Boeing 747-8
The newest addition to the Cathay Pacific Airways fleet – the Boeing 747-8 freighter – marked a significant milestone as it touched down at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston this week. The airline’s first ever Boeing 747-8F aircraft landing in Texas will be a repeat performance as it is a dedicated aircraft on the cargo route network.
"I am thrilled to welcome Cathay Pacific’s 747-8F to Houston and the timely addition in the airline’s fleet signifies the importance and increasing volume of trade between Houston and Hong Kong," said Mario C. Diaz, Director of the Houston Airport System. "Houston continues to be a vital international cargo hub in the global network thanks to the strength of the Texas economy as we connect local companies providing goods and services in the energy, medical and manufacturing sectors to emerging and expanding markets globally."
One of the keys to Houston’s success is its strategic geographical location in the Americas with excellent reach to Latin America and major markets in the United States. With 29 percent of all freight from Houston is destined for Asia with a trade value of $3.5 billion annually. As the year draws to a close, the Houston Airport System expects it will set a new record for air cargo as George Bush Intercontinental Airport is expected to handle more air cargo in 2011 than it has any year since the airport opened in 1969.
The inaugural freighter flight carried oil and gas machinery and equipment from Houston, in addition to commodities from across South America, including cherries from Santiago and flowers from Colombia that will be distributed across Asia.
"With its first-class operating economics, the Dash 8 freighters will help us provide even better value and service to our customers," said Fred Ruggiero, Cathay Pacific’s vice president cargo Americas. “Four Dash 8 freighters have already joined the fleet and we will continue to take delivery in the coming year, demonstrating our commitment to the freighter market as it becomes the backbone of our cargo operations to and from North America,” he added.
Cathay Pacific is the first Asia Pacific airline to take delivery of the 747-8 Freighter, which features double-digit improvements in fuel burn and lower emissions and is 30 percent quieter than the 747-400 Freighter. Furthermore, the aircraft can hold 16 percent more revenue-generating cargo volume, which allows it to hold 7 additional pallets of cargo. The upgrade will ensure that George Bush Intercontinental Airport will continue growing as a connection point, and will allow Houston firms to thrive as they move goods overseas.
With the addition of the Boeing 747-8F aircraft, Cathay Pacific will operate a fleet of 21 wide-body freighters serving more than 40 destinations.