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Cathay Pacific 'pleased' with A350-1000 performance

Cathay Pacific Airways is "pleased" with the performance of the Airbus A350-1000 during its first three months in service, says chief executive Rupert Hogg.

"Overall, it's been a very smooth introduction into service for the A350[-1000]," he told FlightGlobal at an event to mark the launch of the Hong Kong-based carrier's new Washington Dulles route on 25 September. "We’re pleased with that."

Cathay followed Qatar Airways as the second operator of the stretched A350, first taking delivery of the aircraft in June and debuting it on flights to Taipei on 1 July, FlightGlobal schedules data shows.

The aircraft, which Cathay configures with 334 seats, is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and has an 8,000nm range. It is 7m (23ft) longer than the baseline A350-900, which the airline introduced in 2016.

The Trent XWB engines have not faced any of the durability issues affecting the Trent 1000 compressor and turbine blades on the Boeing 787.

Asked about dispatch reliability of the A350-1000, Hogg says it is "up where we would expect" but declines to provide a number.

"There are always things you talk about with the manufacturer when you launch a new aircraft," he says when asked specifically if dispatch reliability was above or below 99%. "That bit at the margin is important."

Cathay operates five A350-1000s and plans to have eight in its fleet by the end of the year, says Hogg. It also operates 22 A350-900s, and has firm orders for six -900s and 15 -1000s, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

Based on Hogg's numbers, Cathay Pacific makes up more than half of the global A350-1000 fleet, with only nine in service, according to the database. Qatar Airways operates three aircraft.

Airbus has firm orders for another 162 A350-1000s with Qatar Airways the largest customer, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Cathay operates the A350-1000 primarily within Asia, including to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore, as well as to Madrid, Tel Aviv and Washington Dulles, schedules show.

The airline plans to use the aircraft primarily for European services, and to Dulles, as its fleet grows, says Hogg.

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