Cathay Pacific switches from Boeing to Airbus with A350F freighter order

Cathay Pacific switches from Boeing to Airbus with A350F freighter order

Cathay Pacific’s air freight division, Cathay Cargo, has announced an order for six next-generation Airbus A350F freighters.  

Cathay Cargo currently operates a fleet of 14 Boeing 747-8Fs and six Boeing 747-400ERFs but has decided, for the moment at least, that its future lies with Airbus.  

The announcement of the deal came on December 8, 2023, with Cathay buoyant that the order ensures Hong Kong remains the “world’s number one air cargo hub”. 

The yet-to-be-released Airbus A350F is expected to be delivered to Cathay from 2027. As part of the agreement the airline also has an option to purchase an additional 20 A350F aircraft. 

According to Cathay Cargo the new planes will be used to link Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland with destinations in North and South America as well as Europe. 

“As we move into 2024, our rebuild journey is gaining momentum. This order marks another major component in our investment for the future,” Ronald Lam, Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said. “It reflects Cathay’s confidence in the Hong Kong hub as we look ahead to the opportunities provided by the Three-Runway System. These highly fuel-efficient, next-generation freighters will provide important additional cargo capacity, expand our global network and contribute to our sustainability leadership goals.” 

Cathay Group is already one of the largest operators of the A350, with a current fleet of 47 passenger aircraft. 

These include both the A350-900 and A350-1000, which are primarily operated on the carrier’s long haul route network. 

“There’s a new standard in the cargo space and we are gratified that such a savvy global air-cargo operator as Cathay has joined the growing number of reference players in the air-freight industry endorsing the A350F,” Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International said. “The aircraft will fit seamlessly with Cathay’s existing A350 passenger fleet, while lowering operating costs to a level never before seen in increasingly competitive cargo markets. At the same time, it will bring a very significant reduction in carbon emissions, contributing immediately to sustainability goals.” 

The Cathay Group now has 77 aircraft on order, which includes 21 Boeing 777-9 aircraft scheduled to be delivered from 2025 and a total of 49 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft expected to be delivered by 2029.   

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