Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific took delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 in a ceremony at the manufacturer’s Toulouse delivery centre.
The jet, B-LXA (c/n 118), was delivered to the carrier’s home-base at Chek Lap Kok International Airport on June 20 after a 12-hour flight. This is the first of 20 -1000s Cathay Pacific has on order, with a further seven examples due to arrive before the end of this year. It already operates 22 of the smaller variant, the A350-900 and by 2021 it will have 46 A350 XWBs in service.
Cathay Pacific says it will introduce the -1000 into service on July 1 on it busiest rotation – Hong Kong to Taipei – and after initial regional flying to familiarise crews, it will launch the airline’s new long-haul service to Washington DC on September 15. This will be the longest route ever flown non-stop by the carrier at 8,153 nautical miles (15,100km).
Paul Loo, chief customer and commercial officer, remarked: “This aircraft follows the successful entry into service of the -900 [in May 2016] which has enabled us to expand our long-haul network at a near unprecedented rate, providing our customers with a wider range of non-stop travel choices, while at the same time strengthening Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s largest international aviation hub.”
As with the delivery of Cathay Pacific’s previous 22 A350s, this one was flown using a 10% blend of alternative jet fuels, one of the many initiatives the airline says it is undertaking to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. It has set itself the challenge of carbon neutral growth by 2020. It was the first in the world to invest in biofuel technology, becoming an equity investor in US-based Fulcrum BioEnergy, which focuses on turning municipal waste into sustainable aviation fuel. By 2020, Fulcrum aims to be producing more than ten million gallons of fuel each year for airlines, including Cathay Pacific.