Cathay Pacific Places A Confirmed Order of Six A350F

Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, announced on Friday that it had placed an order for six Airbus freighters for $2.71 billion to replace its aging Boeing 747 cargo jets. The airline currently has six older model 747-400ERFs and 14 newer 747-8Fs in its fleet, and it expects the delivery of the six Airbus freighters from 2027 by the end of 2029. 


According to CEO Ronald Lam, these next-generation freighters are highly fuel-efficient and will contribute to Cathay's sustainability leadership goals, while also providing important additional cargo capacity and expanding its global network. Cathay has also secured the right to purchase an additional 20 Airbus freighters under the deal, with Airbus offering price concessions below the list price. 


It was reported last month that the carrier was leaning towards Airbus for this deal, and the selection means that Cathay will replace its Boeing 747 fleet with the new Airbus aircraft. However, Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The choice of the next phase of cargo operations was seen as a key test for the two freighters, given that Cathay operates both Boeing 777 and Airbus passenger models. 

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The new Airbus freighters will link Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland with long-haul destinations in North and South America, as well as Europe. According to the International Air Transport Association data, Cathay Pacific is the world's fifth-largest air freight carrier and the third-largest traditional freight airline behind Qatar Airways and Emirates (when specialist express parcel carriers FedEx and UPS are excluded). Finally, Cathay's aircraft order book also includes 21 Boeing 777-9 passenger planes scheduled for delivery in 2025 and 49 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft expected to be delivered by 2029.

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