Cathay Pacific
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Aircraft given the all-clear

AVIATION sources last night backed Cathay Pacific claims that none of the 49 aircraft in its fleet would face major maintenance work as a result of the strike.

The company said that although plane utilisation rates had fallen during the 16 days of the dispute, all its aircraft had been used almost on a daily basis at least.

''The flying hours for aircraft have obviously been reduced during the last two weeks, but no individual aircraft have been grounded for long enough to warrant any abnormal maintenance,'' a Cathay spokeswoman said.

Cathay's 747 jumbo jets usually have an average of 2.6 flying hours per day, while its Tristar aircraft are in the air for an average of 5.7 hours a day.

The Tristars generally fly to Asian destinations and have been grounded more often than the larger jets used for long-haul routes.

One expert agreed that it was highly unlikely that any of the aircraft had been grounded for more than a day.

''If there had been some left idle on runways for the full two weeks, the company could have found that they would have to clean dust out of engines and change tyres on wheels that have not moved,'' he said.

''I don't think that we have a scenario like that because even in the worst days the company was able to get half at least of its planes up in the air.''