Cathay Pacific Airways has decided to replace its six Boeing 747-400ERF freighters. The Airbus A350F and the Boeing 777-8F are competing for this contract, which also has a high symbolic value.
Six Boeing 747-400ERFs to be replaced
Hard hit by the effects of the Covid pandemic, Cathay Pacific Airways nonetheless continues to work on fleet renewal and modernization. Replacing the six Boeing 747-400ERFs has been on the agenda for several months now, and the airline has logically put the Airbus A350F and Boeing 777-8F into competition. Cathay Pacific Airways also operates a fleet of 14 brand new Boeing 747-8Fs.
A contract with symbolic significance
Six aircraft may not sound like much at first glance, but in these times of prolonged short demand for wide-body aircraft, a contract of this type carries a lot of payload weight. Not to mention that Cathay Pacific Airways is a long-time Boeing customer in the cargo segment. So a choice by the airline in favor of Airbus would have additional symbolic significance. The game is tight between Airbus and Boeing because both manufacturers can play the commonality and economies of scale card. Cathay Pacific Airways is a customer and operator of the Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 and this is also the case for the Boeing 777-300ER and 747-8F.
Boeing 777-8F vs. Boeing 777-9 ?
Not to mention that Cathay Pacific Airways is also a launch customer for the Boeing 777-9 passenger aircraft with an order for 21. An order that some observers were possibly predicting would be reduced in April 2021 and brought down to between 10 and 15 aircraft. This allows Cathay Pacific Airways to play on the contractual clauses and "trade" the Boeing 777-9 for the Boeing 777-8F without penalty. This gives Boeing an advantage. A card that Airbus can more difficult to play since at the end of October 2022 the airline had only two Airbus A350-900 and one A350-1000 left to receive.
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