Cathay Pacific chooses the A350F as a replacement for its Boeing 747 freighters

Hong Kong airline has ordered six aircraft from Airbus and will be delivered from 2027

An important Boeing 777X customer, Cathay Pacific has decided to order six A350F cargo jets from Airbus. The aircraft are expected to replace their Boeing 747-400F from 2027.

Cathay has six of these four-engine aircraft in service and they have an average age of 15 years. In addition, there are another 14 active 747-8Fs.

The choice of the 777-8F rival was surprising as Cathay has a large order for the 777-9 version, which can carry around 426 passengers.

The Hong Kong-based carrier was one of the first customers for the new 777X family, having announced an order for 21 aircraft in 2013.

In May, rumors indicated a preference for the 777-8F, a freighter variant that will replace the 777F from 2027, when the current freighter will be discontinued for environmental reasons.

The A350F was launched by Airbus taking advantage of a boom in long-haul air cargo. The aircraft can carry up to 111 tons of cargo over distances of up to 4,700 nautical miles/8,700 km.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400F (John Taggart)

According to Airbus, the performance will allow Cathay Cargo to fly non-stop to Anchorage, Alaska, the largest cargo route in the world.

“As we move into 2024, our rebuild journey is gaining momentum. This order marks another major component in our investment for the future. It reflects Cathay’s confidence in the Hong Kong hub as we look ahead to the opportunities provided by the Three-Runway System,” said Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam.

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“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,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.

Cathay Pacific is also a passenger A350 customer, of which it operates a large fleet of 47 aircraft, 29 A350-900s and 18 A350-1000s.


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