ILFC places first A350s with Cathay

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ILFC has found home for the first Airbus A350s from its orderbook by signing a lease agreement with Cathay Pacific Airways for two A350-900 aircraft.

The operating lessor has 20 A350 aircraft, 12 A350-800s and eight A350-900s, on order scheduled for delivery from 2014 through 2017.

The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2015.

Earlier this week Cathay Pacific entered agreements with Airbus to purchase 15 more A330-300s for delivery between 2013 and 2015 and with Boeing for 10 more Boeing 777-300ERs. All of these aircraft will be delivered before the end of 2015.

The carrier already has 30 A350-900s on order scheduled for delivery from 2016 to 2019 and six Boeing 777-300ERs to be delivered between 2013 to 2014.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler says: "Our plan is to retire our 21 Boeing 747-400 and 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft before the end of the decade as we take delivery progressively of new generation aircraft that will provide much greater fuel and operating cost efficiencies."

Cathay Pacific is also in talks to buy another 14 aircraft in the near term. The carrier declines to say what type or make they would be, with chief operating officer John Slosar adding that the discussions are ongoing and will be announced shortly.

They are not likely to be either the Airbus A380 or Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, with Slosar saying that the carrier's existing orders for Boeing 777-300ERs are sufficient to meet their current long-haul fleet replacement plans.