By Jason Theodorou

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific have announced its intent to buy 30 new aircraft from Airbus, which it said would be 'perfect' for its fleet. The carrier plans to expand after reporting a profit of HK$6.84 billion (880 million US dollars). In a statement to Hong Kong's stock exchange, Cathay said that the total catalogue price for the Airbus plans would be $7.82 billion US dollars.

The airline also intends to buy six Boeing 777-300ER passenger planes, which will be used in the airline's long-haul fleet and contribute to the ongoing goal of boosting fleet numbers by more than a third.

Cathay Pacific has added Milan and Moscow as destinations for passengers this year, and expects financial results to be solid in the second half of 2010, barring a double dip recession or an increase in the price of fuel.

The airline was hard hit by the financial crisis, suffering a net loss of 8.6 billion Hong Kong dollars in mid 2008, but returned to profit in 2009.

Cathay Pacific chairman Christopher Pratt said: 'Our passenger and freighter schedules have been restored almost to their pre-downturn levels... If present trends continue, we expect our financial results to continue to be strong in the second half of 2010'.

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