The initial Airbus A350-1000 for Cathay Pacific, F-WZGV (msn 118 to become B-LXA), undertook its first test flight at the start of May ahead of its expected delivery to the Hong Kong-based airline in June.
Cathay Pacific will be the second A350-1000 operator after Qatar Airways put Airbus’ largest twin-jet into service in February. The airline is planning to use the aircraft’s 7,950 nautical miles (14,750km) range to open new routes, including to Washington Dulles Airport, starting in September, which at 7,084 nautical miles (13,119km) in length will be the longest on the airline’s network.
Before then, Cathay will fly the aircraft on some of its regional routes to Bangkok, Manila and Taipei. Cathay’s A350-1000s will carry 334 passengers (46 business, 32 premium economy, 256 economy) compared to the 280 passengers (38 business, 28 premium economy, 214 economy) on its A350-900s. Cathay has 22 examples of the smaller variant. The 54 extra seats mean the A350-1000 is ideal for use on busy services within the Asia-Pacific region where the carrier needs to add more capacity than the A350- 900 can provide.
Cathay has ordered 20 A350-1000s. Airbus’ latest orders and deliveries data shows the company had received 168 orders for A350-1000s by early May, only around a fifth of the total A350 order book. Launch operator Qatar Airways has ordered 37. Etihad Airways has ordered 22 and British Airways, which has 18 orders, expects to receive its initial A350-1000 in 2019. Mark Broadbent