Today, Cathay Pacific welcomed the newest member to their fleet; the first of 20 Airbus A350-1000’s, as it prepared to fly, on a blend of biofuel, from Toulouse, France to the airline’s home in Hong Kong.
Eight of these aircraft will be delivered this year, with the remainder to arrive by 2021. After initial rounds of regional services, starting with its first commercial flight to Taipei (CX474/475) on 1 July 2018, the A350-1000 will launch Cathay Pacific’s new service to Washington DC on the 15th September 2018; at 8,153 miles this makes it the longest on the airline’s network.
This technologically-advanced aircraft will also serve Madrid, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Manchester and Zurich from this coming winter.
Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo said: “We already have one of the youngest long-haul fleets in the sky; with the arrival of the A350-1000 our fleet is only going to get younger.
Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are proud to deliver the A350-1000 to our long-standing customer Cathay Pacific. The aircraft brings major advantages in fuel and cost efficiency along with unrivalled passenger comfort. The combination of the world’s newest wide-body and Cathay Pacific’s world famous in-flight service will ensure that the airline can strengthen its position even further as one of the world’s leading international carriers.”
The largest variant in the A350 family, Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000s will carry a total of 334 passengers across its Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins; 54 more passengers more than the airline’s A350-900s. The aircraft will be powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.
Cathay's Premium Economy Cabin provides a sense of understated luxury. 32 Premium Economy Class seats are in the middle of the airplane. In addition to the 12.1" personal television, a dedicated mobile/tablet shelf, designed at eye level, makes it easy for passengers to enjoy entertainment content on their own devices.
Business Class seats on the A350-1000 retain the same long haul Business Class product across the Cathay Pacific fleet. The entire Business Class is in the one cabin, from Rows 11 through 23 (A total of 11 rows)
Unlike many other airlines, Cathay has a very consistent long haul Business Class product.
If you are a solo traveller, no doubt the best choice is the window seat (A or K). I would avoid the middle pair seats if you're not traveling with a partner. For the best engine view I recommend you choose rows 22 or 23!
In addition to the invited media members, there was also a group of Cathay Pacific staff traveling along with us from Toulouse to Hong Kong; they were the winners of an internal company wide competition.
It is worth a mention that this delivery flight was using 10% sustainable Bio-fuel, produced from sugar cane. Cathay Pacific has been at the forefront of many initiatives to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions; they aim to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020.
Flight CX3510 took off from Toulouse at 14:45, with a flight time of 11 hours 50 minutes; it was scheduled to land in Hong Kong at 08:30 the following day.
The cruising speed was at Mach 0.85 and the flight path was over Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China then landing into Hong Kong. The A350-1000 is powered by Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines with 97,000 lbs of thrust produced from each engine.
Pyjamas and amenity kits were handed out before take-off.
Cathay Pacific’s experienced cabin crew delivered an exceptional service during the flight, including a round of drinks before a full lunch. Delivery flights offer the perfect opportunity for picture taking.
What was impressive was that Cathay brought in their own dining ware, instead of using the standard delivery flight disposable affair.
On Cathay's A350-1000, there are 2 camera views; one from the front and one from the tail.
Cathay's A350 also offers Wi-Fi internet connectivity. It has a 2 tier pricing scheme with $9.99 for 1 hour or $19.90 for the entire flight.
After few hours of good rest, we were just 2 hours out from Hong Kong; a full breakfast was served before landing. Weather in Hong Kong was partial cloudy with light South-westerly winds. We landed on runway 25R at the local time of 08:35.
I felt immensely proud to be part of the delivery ceremony and one of the first passengers to fly on Cathay Pacific's brand new A350-1000. I am looking forward to seeing more Cathay A350 in the sky soon!