CATHAY Pacific Airways is negotiating with Airbus Industrie and Boeing on the purchase of a new-generation ultra long-haul aircraft for new services to New York. Managing director Rod Eddington said the two future aircraft types, yet to be officially launched by the competing manufacturers, were being evaluated by Cathay's planning department and a decision was expected soon. Both the European consortium Airbus and United States-based Boeing are vying for launch customers for the types able to fly non-stop for 18 hours, allowing for one-stop round-the-globe service all year. Airbus' A340-8000 is to be an 8,000 nautical mile range version of the four-engined A340 and is due to be available in 1997. Boeing's B777-100X, a 'shrunk' version of the new twin-engined B777, is due in 1999. Both types, derivatives of aircraft Cathay has either ordered or is already flying, were unofficially launched at the Paris air show in June last year. Mr Eddington said delivery time was likely to be a factor behind the decision of which aircraft to purchase, while both were equally in the race. Asked whether time was important, Mr Eddington said: 'I think it would be.' 'Having said that, you buy air-frames for 20 years, not two. 'But if we could operate non-stop in both directions ahead of anyone else, that would clearly be a plus for us. 'If we could do it to New York we'd grab it.' Last week, Cathay's first B777-200, on a route-proving tour in the region, touched down for the first time at Kai Tak airport. Mr Eddington said Cathay began negotiating with Airbus and Boeing about the new types last year. This came about when the Hong Kong Government struck an air services agreement with the United States after eight years of negotiations. The agreement gave Cathay the rights to operate to any 14 US cities. The airline has said services to New York would be launched on July 1. The services will initially run five times weekly, but will be upgraded to daily services from September. The airline will use B747-400 aircraft with a stop-over in Vancouver, as no aircraft exist that have the range for non-stop services. Cathay also said last week it would launch dedicated cargo services to Chicago and New York next month. The weekly cargo flights to the two cities are to begin on March 2 and will be run with B747-400 Freighter aircraft. Cathay said the freighters were expected to carry mainly industrial goods including electronics, machinery parts and manufactured items, as well as textiles. The airline has orders and options on more than 60 B747-400s and B777s, as well as A330s and A340s, valued at more than HK$60 billion. Air Canada, which recently launched services between Vancouver and Hong Kong, is the only airline known to have placed tentative orders on one of the new aircraft types. Last year, it reportedly signed letters of intent for several A340-8000s, which it hoped to use on future expanded services between Toronto and Vancouver. Cathay flies between Hong Kong and Toronto non-stop for about half the year with a B747-400. The plane is forced to make a technical stop in Anchorage to refuel in the remaining months, when winds are stronger.