Cathay Pacific (CX) has announced its intention to enter into an agreement with Airbus to convert 16 of its previous orders for the A350-900 into larger Airbus A350-1000s and to exercise an option to purchase an additional 10 of the latter. According to figures released by the carrier, the list price of the 10 aircraft is in the area of HK$25.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) and the incremental list price for the conversion is about HK$8.5 billion (US$1.1 billion). The company’s board still needs to give the agreement its approval when it meets on August 8.
In a released statement CX chief executive John Slosar said the fuel-efficient A350-1000, with its improved payload and range, “will allow us to connect more and more important cities worldwide directly with Hong Kong”.
With this order, the airline will have a total of 100 aircraft on order for delivery by 2020, among them 22 A350-900s and 26 A350-1000s. The A350-1000 aircraft will be powered by the higher thrust version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine.
Although both of the XWB “extra-wide body” family, A350-1000 is designed to seat 350 passengers in the typical three-class configuration, 36 more than the capacity of A350-900. Its range is also 300 nautical miles longer at 8,400. According to Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Brégier, the A350-1000 offers a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn when compared with aircraft of the same size.
At the end of last year, aircraft manufacturer announced that there would be a six months delay in the production of the A350 XWB due to “late availability of some key composite and detailed parts” (see story here). It is scheduled to enter into service in 2014.
CX currently operates 135 wide-body aircraft.