The first of Cathay Pacific’s 20 new Airbus A350-1000 has completed its maiden test flight at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, ahead of its scheduled delivery to the Hong Kong carrier this June.
The aircraft is the latest variant in the A350 family, which currently includes the A350-900 (Cathay Pacific currently has 22 in its fleet), the A350-1000 and the soon-to-launch A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range).
September 15, 2018 will see the debut of the aircraft on the airline’s new non-stop service to Washington DC, which will be the longest route in the carriers network when it launches at 8,153 miles (13,120km). No other routes have been officially announced yet for the new aircraft.
Compared with the A350-900, the -1000 is seven metres longer, providing space for additional seating. In the case of Cathay Pacific, the A350-1000 will have eight more business class seats than its predecessor (46 in total) along with four additional premium economy seats (32 total) and 42 more in economy (256 total).
Business class will occupy a single cabin at the front of the aircraft, laid out 1-2-1 in a herringbone formation that allows all passengers to access the aisles directly. Premium economy, meanwhile, is laid out 2-4-2 across four rows, and economy is configured 3-3-3.
Cathay Pacific has a total of 20 A350-1000s on order, part of an overall fleet expansion that will see the airline take delivery of 79 new aircraft by 2024. This also includes six A350-900s, 21 Boeing 777-9s and 32 A321neo aircraft, the latter going to regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon.
However, the airline does not have any A350-900ULR aircraft on order. Rival carrier Singapore Airlines is set to be the launch customer for the aircraft, which took its maiden flight late last month. Airbus will deliver the A350-900ULR to Singapore Airlines in the second-half of 2018 and is set to debut on the carrier’s revived 20-hour Singapore-New York service, which it dropped in 2013 due to high fuel costs.
The first A350-1000 was delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways earlier this year and is set to make its first appearance on the airline’s Doha-London route.
Business Traveller got a first look at Airbus’s demonstration version of its A350-1000 when the manufacturer sent the aircraft on a worldwide tour earlier this year.