Cathay Pacific Airways today hosted the Hong Kong SAR Government Financial Secretary The Right Honourable Antony Leung for a preview of the airlineå‘s newest aircraft å- the high-tech ultra-long-haul Airbus A340-600 å- just prior to its commercial delivery at the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France.
Cathay Pacific is the launch customer in Asia for the A340-600 - the world’s longest commercial airliner. The long range of the A340-600 permits non-stop flights with full loads throughout the year from Hong Kong to virtually any major destination in the world - including the east coast of the USA and all major airports in western Europe. The airline has ordered a total of three of the new aircraft on lease from leasing company ILFC.
At the ceremony in France Cathay Pacific Airways Director and Chief Operating Officer Philip Chen said: “The introduction of the A340-600 now enables us to operate, for example, long-haul trans-Pacific routes all year-round, enhancing both the Cathay Pacific network and the hub status of Hong Kong. The new features on board this aircraft - including our New Business Class cabin, with Audio and Video on Demand IFE, and Tenzing in-flight email - are sure to be appreciated by our passengers, and the continuing growth of our fleet also means more jobs for Hong Kong.”
The A340-600 has a range of up to 13,900km/7,500nm and is powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines. The second of Cathay Pacific’s A340-600s is scheduled for delivery in late December this year. Prior to the delivery of its third aircraft in 2Q 2003 the first two aircraft will operate on a mix of routes between Hong Kong and the USA, Australia and Europe and within the Asia Pacific region. Cathay Pacific has selected a spacious layout for the new A340-600 with just eight passengers in First Class, 60 in Business Class and 220 in Economy Class.
Cathay Pacific already operates 20 Airbus A330s and 15 A340s across its international network, and is among the largest A330/A340 operators today. Earlier this year the airline placed firm orders for three more Airbus A330-300s as well as three Boeing B777-300s.
Cathay Pacific’s position as Asian launch customer for the A340-600 is typical of its progressive approach to new products. The Hong Kong airline was also the very first customer for the Boeing B777-300, and a launch customer for the Boeing B747-400.