On Monday, Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Cathay Pacific Airways announced a deal, worth $1 billion at list prices (although no one ever pays those), for the sale of three Boeing 747-8 freighters to the Hong Kong cargo carrier.

According to the press release, when paired with two other 747-8s it has on order, this deal will increase the 747-8 portion of Cathay's freighter fleet to 13 planes. The carrier currently flies:

  • Six 747-400 freighters, which it's gradually phasing out and replacing with 747-8s.
  • Eight 747-8 freighters, with now five on order.
  • Six 747-400ER freighters.
  • One 747-400 BCF.

Cathay has taken out five options to purchase 777 freighters as well.

At 250 feet, 2 inches in length, the 747-8 is 18 feet, 4 inches longer than the 747-400 freighter it's gradually replacing, making it capable of carrying 16% more revenue cargo volume, according to Boeing, and has improved fuel efficiency that results in "nearly equivalent trip costs and lower ton-mile costs."

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