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Cathay Pacific Airways' first A340-600 delivered

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 28 November 2002

The first of three Airbus A340-600s Cathay Pacific Airways is leasing from ILFC has been delivered to the operator. Cathay will thus be the first Asian carrier to operate the ultra-long range A340 variant when it puts it into service. The new aircraft will enable Cathay Pacific to launch high capacity, long-range direct flights as far away as the US East coast. The aircraft are the first out of an order for 13 placed by one of the world's leading leasing companies, ILFC, who was also a launch customer for the new version of the A340.

The largest member of Airbus' market leading A330/A340 Family, the A340-600 provides operators with unrivalled standards of space, comfort and amenity in each cabin class, over a range of up to 13,900km/7,500nm. Cathay Pacific has chosen a very spacious layout, seating eight passengers in First Class, 60 in Business and 220 in Economy. The First and Business Class cabins, and the first rows of the Economy Class cabin offer access to the Tenzing inflight email system through high-speed USB data connections. Cathay Pacific is currently the only airline in the world to offer this service.

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 powerplants, the four-engine A340-600 offers total freedom of flight, unrestricted by ETOPS (the rules governing the operation of twin-engine aircraft on very long flights). This allows them to fly more direct routes, saving travel time, cutting fuel consumption and reducing costs.

"Cathay Pacific has worked closely with Airbus on the development of the A340 Family, and the delivery of the first of three A340-600s marks a new step in our partnership and enables us to further benefit from the Airbus aircraft's operational commonality," said Cathay Pacific Director and Chief Operating Officer Philip Chen. "The introduction of the A340-600 will enable us to operate, for example, long-haul trans-Pacific routes year-round, adding to the utility of our hub, Hong Kong International Airport, to passengers whilst offering them the highest levels of comfort."

"The fact that a forward looking leasing company like ILFC has taken the A340-600 in its portfolio, and that one of the world's most prestigious international carriers is amongst the first to operate it, once again endorses the success of the A340-500/-600 programme and illustrates the benefits which can be achieved through mixed fleet flying operations," said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Nol Forgeard.

Cathay Pacific was the first airline in the world to establish a mixed A330/A340 fleet operation, fully exploiting the unique common design concept pioneered by Airbus. Sharing the same cockpit layout, operational procedures and handling characteristics, the aircraft are operated by Cathay Pacific as a single fleet, with pilots qualified to fly both types on a regular basis. Indeed, the A340-600 has the same type rating as the A340-300, enabling pilots to fly either aircraft type with a single license endorsement.

The Hong Kong-based carrier already operates 20 A330s and 15 A340s across its international route network, and is among the largest A330/A340 operators today. Earlier this year, the airline placed a firm order for an additional three A330-300s, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2003. The A330/A340 family has been especially successful in the Asia-Pacific, with more than 180 total orders from almost 20 airlines, including almost every major international carrier in the region.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.

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