Hong Kong’s Cathay has become the latest carrier to order the all-new A350F, following the signature of a purchase agreement for six aircraft. The A350F will join the airline’s cargo division, Cathay Cargo, and will become a central element in its future fleet, bringing new levels of efficiency across its extensive network.
“As we move into 2024, our rebuild journey is gaining momentum. This order marks another major component in our investment for the future. It reflects Cathay’s confidence in the Hong Kong hub as we look ahead to the opportunities provided by the Three-Runway System. These highly fuel-efficient, next-generation freighters will provide important additional cargo capacity, expand our global network and contribute to our sustainability leadership goals.”Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam
Currently under development, the A350F can carry a payload of up to 111 tonnes and can fly up to 4,700 nautical miles / 8,700 kilometres at significantly lower cost than any other freighter available today. This will enable it to serve all heavy cargo markets, including the world’s biggest freight route between Hong Kong and Anchorage.
“There’s a new standard in the cargo space and we are gratified that such a savvy global air-cargo operator as Cathay has joined the growing number of reference players in the air-freight industry endorsing the A350F. The aircraft will fit seamlessly with Cathay’s existing A350 passenger fleet, while lowering operating costs to a level never before seen in increasingly competitive cargo markets. At the same time, it will bring a very significant reduction in carbon emissions, contributing immediately to sustainability goals.”Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International
Powered by latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent-XWB97 engines, the aircraft will bring a reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions of up to 40% when compared with the older 747F and is at least 20% more efficient than its competitor.
The A350F features the largest main deck cargo door in the industry, with fuselage length and capacity optimised around the industry’s standard pallets and containers. Over 70% of the airframe is made of advanced materials, resulting in a 46 tonne lighter take-off weight than the competing derivative. The A350F is also the only freighter aircraft that will fully meet ICAO’s enhanced CO₂ emissions standards, coming into effect in 2027.
As part of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft family, the A350F also offers a high level of commonality with A350 passenger aircraft, bringing added benefits to carriers already flying models from the family.
Cathay Group is already one of the largest operators of the A350, with a current fleet of 47 aircraft. These include both the A350-900 and A350-1000, which are primarily operated on the carrier’s long haul route network.