Cathay Pacific Airways Considers Airbus A350 Freighter Order Amid Fleet Renewal

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is reportedly considering an order for approximately six Airbus A350 freighters, marking a potential revival for the Airbus wide-body freighter. This comes after Cathay seemed to prefer the rival Boeing 777-8F earlier this year, but then delayed its decision for several months, according to anonymous industry sources.


Neither Airbus nor Boeing have commented on the matter, and Cathay was not available for comment outside of business hours. Cathay's choice for its next cargo development phase is viewed as a significant test for the two freighters, as the airline operates both the 777 and A350 passenger models. 


Airbus and Boeing have been vying for the business of one of the world's top five freight airlines, which has been comparing the all-freight version of the future Boeing 777X jet family with an upcoming cargo model of the existing Airbus A350. Cathay Pacific ranks as the world's fifth-largest air freight carrier and the third-largest traditional freight airline, excluding specialist express parcel carriers FedEx and UPS. 


The competition is believed to involve an initial purchase of around six aircraft, valued at approximately $2 billion before traditional airline discounts. In August, Cathay Pacific informed analysts that it was examining freighters and "continuing to study various opportunities". On Friday, it reported to analysts that cargo demand had eased but remained "still much higher than pre-pandemic times".

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