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Cathay Pacific flies its first Airbus A350-1000 home

Cathay is first to operate the new type from Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific received its first of 20 Airbus A350-1000s, with a celebratory delivery flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse that touched down in Hong Kong on 20 June. Cathay Pacific is the first airline to operate the aircraft at Hong Kong.

The A350-1000 certainly bigger and, in some respects, better than her smaller sister, the A350-900. ‘The -1000 takes more further,’ as Paul Barwell, Head of Fleet and Passenger Scheduling, says.

As you’d expect from two members of the same family, they have many characteristics in common, including looks, with their distinctive ‘raccoon’ eyes. In fact, up to 90 per cent of all the part numbers in the -900 are replicated in the -1000. You can learn more about the differences in the pop-out picture below.

Cathay Pacific Cargo A350-1000
Click the image to expand

The difference between the two is more than a simple stretch, though. Some of the parts that aren’t shared are very significant – new engines and a new rear undercarriage – and of course more cargo capacity. Clive Montgomerie, one of two Cathay Pacific engineers based at Toulouse says: ‘It’s good news for cargo too, the holds look absolutely cavernous.’

The -1000 has an ability to ‘upgauge’ – add more capacity – to some of the ‘longer and thinner’ routes that the Airbus A350-900 has pioneered in recent years, particularly to the new European destinations, like Brussels and Dublin. The -1000 also has a future role for wholly new routes such as Washington DC later in the year. ‘It’s there to give better operating economics on those routes where we’re currently operating Boeing 777s,’ adds Paul. ‘Over time, it will start replacing 777s on some long-haul routes.’