Cathay Pacific gave a significant endorsement to the A350-1000 version of Airbus’ next–generation jetliner family today, announcing acquisition decisions that will make it the largest customer for this longest-fuselage version of the A350 XWB family.
During a Farnborough Airshow press conference, the Hong Kong-based airline’s top two executives said the carrier will place new orders for 10 of the jetliners, while also converting 16 of its existing A350-900 bookings to the -1000 version. The decision is subject to a formal approval of the carrier’s board, planned in the coming weeks.
As a result, Cathay Pacific’s A350 XWB fleet eventually will total 48 A350 XWBs, consisting of the 20 A350-900s and 26 A350-1000s now on order, along with two A350-900s to be operated on lease.
Cathay Pacific’s strategy validates Airbus’ choice last year to enhance the A350-1000 with a higher-thrust version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine and an increased takeoff weight for the aircraft.
“This made the A350-1000 an irresistible proposition for us, fitting perfectly in our network and allowing Cathay Pacific to go nonstop just about anywhere in the worldwide we fly,” said Chairman Christopher Pratt.
Cathay Pacific’s latest acquisition step confirms Airbus’ 2011 decision to develop its enhanced A350-1000 offer, according to President & CEO Fabrice Brégier. “Part of our job is to listen to the customers, especially those seen as a benchmark in the industry,” he explained. “As we had a very successful launch of the A350-900, we felt there was a bit more time to refine our position on the -1000, which is why we came up with new proposal.”
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar added that the A350 XWB family’s advanced technologies – including a significant use of composites and the economics of its jet engines – will make the aircraft “absolute winners” for the airline. “We are very pleased by what Airbus has done in building up the A350 XWB’s capabilities, especially with the -1000 version.”