Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific has completed its purchase of six new A350F aircraft which are set to join the airline’s cargo arm, increasing the fleet efficiency.

The A350F, which is currently under development, features a payload of up to 111 tonnes and carries a flight capacity of up to 4,700 nautical miles.

According to Airbus, the A350F will be able to service all heavy cargo markets including the longest freight route in the world, which runs from Hong Kong to Anchorage.

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International emphasised the market value of the new aircraft for Cathay’s fleet.

Scherer said: “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.”

The new aircraft, which will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent-XWB97 engines, features a fuel consumption and carbon emissions reduction of up to 40% compared to the older 747F aircraft.

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As noted by Airbus, starting in 2027, only the A350F will be able to fully comply with the ICAO’s higher CO2 emissions criteria.

Ronald Lam, Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer added: “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.”

With a current fleet of 47 A350 aircraft, Cathay Group is currently among the biggest users of the A350.

This agreement further extends the relationship between the airline and the manufacturer which recently saw a $4.6bn A320 order.