Cathay Pacific Airways is likely to decide if it will enter an alliance with other airlines within the next nine months. After yesterday's annual meeting, Cathay managing director David Turnbull acknowledged the airline had not rushed the issue. 'We are taking a long time, but on the other hand when you get married you need to think about it for a very long time because getting divorced is always a problem,' he said. Mr Turnbull said the immediate benefits of an alliance would be felt on the revenue side, where Cathay would gain from improved networks in Europe and the United States. On the issue of costs, the airline would benefit from shared facilities and joint-buying, he said. Cathay chairman Peter Sutch said: 'The major alliance groupings have all been in contact to see if we are interested in being part of their plans.' He stressed that Cathay's consideration of a possible alliance had begun well before last year's market downturn. Cathay has been linked to a number of global team-ups, including the Star Alliance - the world's biggest airline grouping. Mr Turnbull also said the carrier had experienced difficulties disposing of its five ageing 747-200s. 'They are not the easiest aircraft to dispose of,' he said. He said Cathay was more likely to lease them than find a buyer. Rival Qantas Airways was rumoured to have been interested in buying the planes but has since decided to buy new aircraft. Mr Sutch said no decisions had been made about the remaining 'Classic' fleet, which the airline has been rumoured to be trying to sell. He maintained the company's position that no drastic staff cuts were planned to ensure the carrier's profitability. 'To suggest that to cut a further 1,000 staff was an integral part of our plan is wrong,' Mr Sutch said. Analysts said wholesale staff cuts were necessary if Cathay was to meet its aggressive 13 per cent cost reduction target this year. In Indonesia Mr Turnbull said the airline had contingency plans to protect its staff there. 'It is a worry for us,' he said. Cathay flies to a number of destinations in Indonesia. Mr Turnbull said several Asian routes, including ones to Indonesia, were loss making. Mr Sutch said there were no plans to cut routes.