Cathay Pacific firms up big order for Airbus A350 planes
Cathay Pacific airline of Hong Kong has converted an order in principle for 30 long-range A350 aircraft into a firm contract with a book price of 7.82 billion dollars, Airbus said on Thursday.
This means that 34 airlines have now placed firm orders for 558 of the A350 XWB, an airliner built largely of composite materials and designed to compete with the Boeing 777 and the new Boeing 787.
Hong Kong Cathay Pacific had signed a letter of intent for the order, worth 6.0 billion euros at list prices, at the beginning of August.
At that time, the chairman of the airline, Christopher Pratt, said: "This is the largest single purchase the company has made, and, I dare say, the largest single investment made by any commercial company in Hong Kong in recent years."
Contracts for new airliners are often concluded at prices significantly different from those listed in the manufacturer's catalogue.
The airline is to operate the A350 XWB version throughout its network, and notably on non-stop flights to Europe.
Cathay Pacific's managing director Tony Tyler said that the purchase of these new-generation airliners was an important step for the airline in developing its fleet and staying at the forefront of the industry.
The aircraft will be powered by the only engine available for this model, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB.
The A350 XWB is the future long-haul airliner offered by the European aircraft consortium Airbus. It is due to enter service in 2013.
© 2010 AFP