Cathay Pacific Airways—which is preparing to take its first of 20 Airbus A350-1000s on June 19—is planning additional long-haul destinations that would be a good fit for the type.

The Hong Kong-based carrier will deploy the aircraft on a new route from Hong Kong to Washington DC from September. After that, it will be gradually introduced on other routes, including the airline’s existing flights to Amsterdam and Zurich, Cathay CEO Rupert Hogg said on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Sydney.

Before the Washington flight, the initial -1000s will be flown on selected routes around Southeast Asia.

Cathay currently has 20 -1000s on order, with eight expected this year. The original order total was reduced because of the carrier’s decision to convert six to the -900 version last year. Hogg said this move was primarily network-driven. Cathay’s route and fleet decisions are well-planned, but in some cases the airline makes changes because of opportunities that arise, Hogg said.

The -1000s will be configured with 334 seats in three classes. Cathay will have a portfolio of widebody sizes to suit different routes, Hogg said. This includes Boeing 777s and A350-900s, as well as the -1000s.

Hogg said the airline is not interested in the ultra-long-range version of the A350-900, which has been ordered by Singapore Airlines.

He noted the Washington DC service will be Cathay’s longest, and can be handled by the -1000. Regarding Cathay’s aircraft types, Hogg said: “I think we’re fine for the destinations we’re going to serve.” The airline also benefits from Hong Kong’s geographic location in relation to its route network.

Cathay remains on track for a return to profitability, he said. The Cathay Group is executing a three-year transformation plan, and one goal is for the airline division to earn more than the cost of capital in 2019. That target remains in place despite rising fuel prices, Hogg said.

Adrian Schofield, avweekscho@gmail.com