Cathay firms A350 XWB order

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Cathay Pacific has firmed its order for 30 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, to which it committed in a letter of intent disclosed last month.

The Hong Kong-based Oneworld carrier said then that it expected its A350s to be delivered between 2016 and 2019. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

"The A350 fits perfectly into our operation," says Cathay chief Tony Tyler. "Its passenger capacity, flight range and operating economics are just right to become the backbone of our mid-sized long-haul widebodied fleet."

Under its fleet renewal plans Cathay also intends to exercise purchase rights for six Boeing 777-300ERs. The combined list-price value of the 30 A350 XWBs and six 777s is approximately HK$75 billion ($9.7 billion), the airline estimates.

The General Electric-powered 777s would account for about $1.6 billion of that figure.