Cathay Pacific has provided a timely boost to Airbus’s largest twin-engine jetliner with an order for 10 A350-1000s. In addition, the Hong Kong carrier will convert 16 existing orders for A350-900s to the larger -1000 version.
The deal is the first new order for the 350-seat jumbo jet in four years. Airbus last year pushed back delivery of the -1000 by 18 months to 2017. The aircraft, slated to compete with Boeing’s 777-300ER, has now won 78 firm orders.
“This announcement from one of the world’s most highly respected airlines is a clear endorsement of the unbeatable operating economics offered by the A350-1000,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president & CEO. “The A350-1000 will be a game changer in the 350-seat category, offering outstanding payload-range capability and a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn. As an all-new design, it will outperform existing aircraft in its size category on every count, as well as any future derivatives of those aircraft.”
The smaller and more popular A350-800 and -900 are scheduled to enter service in 2014 and compete with the Boeing 787. In all, the A350 family has now won a total of 548 firm orders from 34 customers, Airbus said.