Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong International) has ordered six A350Fs from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) with options for 20 more after amending an existing 2010 contract. Swire Pacific and Air China (CA, Beijing Capital), which together hold more than 50% of the voting rights of the carrier, have approved the transaction.

In a stock market filing, Cathay Pacific said deliveries should run from 2027 through the end of 2029. The A350s will be used to expand its fleet capacity which currently stands at six B747-400ERFs (average age of 15 years) and fourteen B747-8(F)s (which average 11 years), all of which are owned.

"They will principally serve long-haul destinations in North America, South America, and Europe. The Company expects that the Airbus Aircraft will deliver improved efficiency and capability of the fleet of the Company over time at competitive operating costs," it said.

In terms of costing, the airline said the Europeans had granted it "significant price concessions" and that each of the A350Fs would be bought for cash payable in eight instalments, with the first seven instalments for each aircraft to be paid prior to delivery of such aircraft and the balance, being a substantial portion of the consideration, to be paid upon delivery. The order is set to be financed wholly or in part by sale and leaseback arrangements and/or finance leases and by commercial bank loans and/or cash generated from in-house business operations, it added.

Cathay Pacific is an existing A350 operator with twenty-nine A350-900s (with one more due) in service coupled with eighteen A350-1000s.