Cathay Pacific Selects A350F For Its Core Freighter Fleet

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350F

A rendering of an Airbus A350F in Cathay Cargo livery.

Credit: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has taken another significant step in its fleet-renewal efforts with an order for six Airbus A350F freighters.

The order decision was closely watched, as Cathay is one of the Asia-Pacific region’s major cargo operators and has both Airbus and Boeing widebodies in its passenger fleet.

The six firm-ordered freighters are due for delivery beginning in 2027. The deal also includes purchase rights for another 20 A350Fs, so the aircraft is set to become the main type in the Cathay freighter fleet.

Cathay said the freighters will be used to link Hong Kong and mainland China to long-haul destinations in the Americas and Europe. The airline said the A350Fs will add capacity and help expand its cargo network.

The orders will also allow fleet replacement to begin. The carrier is not giving specifics of that process, however. “Decisions as to aircraft replacement and the future size of our freighter fleet will be made in due course depending on business needs and the resulting fleet plan,” Cathay told Aviation Daily.

The carrier currently operates six Boeing 747-400ERFs and 14 747-8Fs. The -400ERFs have an average age of 15 years, and the -8Fs 12 years, according to the Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery database.

Cathay signaled several months ago that it was considering orders for narrowbody and widebody passenger aircraft, as well as freighters. The airline placed a major Airbus narrowbody order in August, allowing it to shift its focus to the widebody freighter and passenger orders.

With the freighter order completed, Cathay will next decide on a widebody passenger aircraft to replace the A330s and some older 777s it uses on medium-haul routes within the region.

The freighter order “marks another major component in our investment for the future,” said Cathay Group CEO Ronald Lam. “It reflects Cathay’s confidence in the Hong Kong hub as we look ahead to the opportunities provided by the three-runway system.”

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.