Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is in talks with Airbus Group SE about the planemaker’s proposal for a bigger version of the newest A350 wide-body, Bloomberg reports.
Cathay, which already has 48 A350s on order, is keen on a stretched version of the plane model that would allow it to serve destinations such as Miami non-stop from its base in Hong Kong, chief executive Ivan Chu said in an interview.
The airline took the first of 22 325-seat A350-900s it has on order last weekend, and is also buying 26 366-seat A350-1000s.
An even bigger plane, unofficially dubbed the A350-8000, could have more seats, or trade off capacity against an increase in range.
While Cathay Pacific will use the A350-1000 to serve the east and west coasts of the United States, the plane couldn’t reach Miami or potential destinations in Latin America, Chu said.
The airline is also liaising with Rolls-Royce Plc about a more powerful upgrade of the plane’s XWB engine that would be required to gain the extra range.
The ongoing talks are “routine”, Chu added.
“We are interested in seeing what they can do,” he said in Dublin, prior to the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting there.
Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier said Airbus is still assessing whether demand is sufficient to merit investing several billion euros in a bigger A350, and that a decision is unlikely to come by the Farnborough Air Show in mid-July.
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