Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong International) is favouring Airbus over Boeing as it mulls an upcoming freighter order, according to Reuters. The airline, previously keen on the B777-200F, now reportedly prefers the A350F and is working on an order for six of the type.

The news agency, citing industry sources, did not say why the airline was switching but did say it had recently paused the decision-making process for several months before coming back to the table. Speaking to ch-aviation at the recent Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Assembly of Presidents in Singapore, CEO Ronald Lam said they were "actively working" on a new order.

"Hong Kong has been the world's number one air cargo hub in terms of volume and expertise, and Cathay Cargo has been a key part of that success," he said. "We are determined to retain that success, and to do that, we believe that investment in freighters is important. We're committed to it and working with OEMs on it."

Cathay Pacific is the world's fifth-largest cargo airline. In addition to the belly hold space in its passenger-configured aircraft, the airline operates six B747-400ERFs and fourteen B747-8Fs. Aircraft from the upcoming order will replace the oldest of those aircraft. ch-aviation fleets data indicates the average age of the B747-400ERF fleet is 15 years, with all six aircraft varying between 14.5 and 15.6 years. The average age of the B747-8F fleet is 10.9 years, with the oldest being just over 12 years and the youngest around 7.5 years.

Cathay Pacific declined to comment specifically on the most recent orders reports but told media via a statement that "we will continue to evaluate what potential new-generation freighters may provide additional capacity and generate value for our customers and shareholders, and we remain open to all possibilities."