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Airbus has double breakthrough in vital Hong Kong market with A350 XWB

15-Oct-2010

Hong Kong Airlines confirmed an order for 15 A350 XWBs and ten A330-200s, firming up a deal struck at this year's Farnborough Air Show. The A350 order represents an=other big win for Airbus’ new widebody twin in Hong Kong, following on from Cathay Pacific's Sep-2010 announcement.

Hong Kong Airlines’ A330s will begin delivery in 2012, and take the carrier’s total number of A330s on order to 20. The first A350 is due for delivery in 2018. The order is the core of the carrier’s new commitment to an international network expansion, not only within Asia, but to destinations in Europe and North America. Hong Kong Airlines also has 30 A320s on order. It is included in CAPA's Hottest Airlines to Watch for 2011.

On 16-Sep-2010, Cathay Pacific firmed up a previously announced commitment for 30 A350-900s. The aircraft are due for delivery between 2016 and 2019 and will replace the carrier’s A340s and most of its A330s (eight of which are yet to be delivered). The aircraft will be the “backbone of our mid-sized long haul wide-bodied fleet,” according to CEO, Tony Tyler.

The A350 beat out the smaller B787-9 to the Cathay Pacific order, but Boeing has a strong presence in the airline’s fleet. Concurrent with the A350 order, Cathay announced an order for six more B777-300ERs, converting existing options. This takes total number of B777s that carrier has on order to 24, on top of the 35 B777s the carrier already has in service.

Hong Kong passenger airline fleet

Aircraft

Cathay Pacific

Dragonair

Hong Kong Airlines

Hong Kong Express

Total

Fleet

Orders

Fleet

Orders

Fleet

Orders

Fleet

Orders

Fleet

Orders

A320

   

17

   

33

 

31

17

64

A330

31

8

14

 

4

20

 

20

49

48

A340

11

             

11

0

A350

 

30

     

15

   

0

45

Airbus total

42

38

31

0

4

68

0

51

77

157

B737

       

5

 

7

4

12

4

B747

46

 

           

46

 

B777

35

24

           

35

24

Boeing total

81

24

0

0

5

0

7

4

93

28

Aircraft total

123

62

31

0

9

68

7

55

170

185

Cathay’s new A350s will also replace some of the carrier’s older 378-seat B747-400s on long-haul routes. This replacement role is also being fulfilled by the B777-300ER, which handles 301 passengers and features the carrier’s new long-haul product.

Cathay has steered clear of ordering the A380 or the B747-8I, although it has ordered ten of the Freighter version of Boeing's B747 update.

Most of Cathay’s major regional competitors have ordered the A380, but only Singapore Airlines and Qantas have so far brought the aircraft into operation. Malaysia Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Korean Air and Thai Airways are all due to add the aircraft to their fleets over the next two years.

Mr Tyler stated in Aug-2010 that it found other options apart from the A380 “more profitable” when looking at Cathay’s route network. However, according to Airbus CEO Tom Enders, “more and more it appears that an airline can only compete against an A380 with an A380." For example, Dubai’s Emirates can’t get enough of the type, stating last week that its current order book for 90 A380s is a compromise related to airport capacity problems, and it had originally planned to purchase 120 of the superjumbo.


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