Cathay Pacific Airways announced today that it has entered into a letter of intent with the Airbus Company to buy 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
The airline has also expressed its intention to exercise existing purchase rights in respect of six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The total value of the intended aircraft purchases at list price is about HK$75 billion. This is a sum in addition to the significant investment Cathay Pacific will make between now and 2013 that includes aircraft already on firm order, the new cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport and enhanced products in the cabin and on the ground.
The letter of intent with Airbus relates to the purchase of 30 Rolls-Royce-powered Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The all-new A350 XWB (“Extra Wide Body”) will form the backbone of Cathay Pacific’s future mid-size wide-body fleet, with the 30 new acquisitions being delivered between 2016 and 2019.
The A350-900 variant is capable of flying over 8,000 nautical miles non-stop, which will enable Cathay Pacific to operate the aircraft across its route network, including on non-stop flights to Europe and North America. Two new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines will power the aircraft and the A350 XWB will enable Cathay Pacific to benefit from the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in its size category.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “The A350-900 is a perfect fit for the development of our fleet – a mid-size long-haul aircraft that is fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, and provides the kind of capacity, range and operating economics that we need to complement and enhance our existing fleet. “The delivery schedule fits our requirements very neatly. The 30 new aircraft will be deployed to replace older aircraft and grow our fleet to meet the challenges of the future.”
Mr Tyler added that the purchasing process has been a “rigorous and competitive one that has produced the best result for Cathay Pacific at the end of the day.”
“We are honoured that Cathay Pacific Airways as one of the most prestigious and well managed airlines in Asia has selected the all-new A350 XWB over the competitor’s offering. We are equally pleased to welcome Cathay Pacific as our first Chinese customer for the A350”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The strength of our all-new, long-range, eco-efficient airliner has evidently ticked all the boxes in this very tough and professional evaluation. Offering a 25 per cent reduction in fuel-burn, the A350 XWB will enable Cathay Pacific to benefit from the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in this size category, while offering its passengers the highest levels of comfort and premium service for which the airline is renowned.”