Cathay Pacific’s HK$124 billion order of 48 of one the world’s most advanced airliners – the Airbus A350 – will go live on May 1, with a flight to Manila. Flight 901 to the Philippine capital was to take off at 9am and return for Hong Kong at 12.25pm, according to Airline Route, which monitors global airline schedules. The same aircraft was to later fly to Taipei at 4.15pm, and return to the city at 7.30pm. READ MORE: Dragonair founders’ daughter ‘sad’ to see brand go as Cathay Pacific unveils Cathay Dragon The Hong Kong airline scheduled the Airbus A350 aircraft to operate flights to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City from July 1. Cathay say the new aircraft would enhance fuel economy and offer more comfort for the 280 passengers it can carry. Cathay was to schedule the new jet for the first couple of months on regional destinations to familiarise cabin crew with the airliner and smooth out any operational kinks that might arise. Some 48 models of the fuel-efficient jetliner were to be delivered to Cathay Pacific, with 12 set to arrive this year. Hong Kong Airlines was to take delivery of the first of 15 jets from 2018. Cathay was originally planned to take delivery of the jets this month. However, its seat supplier suffered manufacturing issues in making seats for a host of airlines, delaying a number of aircraft deliveries. READ MORE: How Hong Kong airfares and world oil prices are linked Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s connectivity to the world was on track to expand by the end of the decade thanks to the A350, which operates with much lower operating costs. The aircraft would allow both airlines to expand to cities and countries that might not otherwise be profitable for the airlines as a Boeing 777 was deemed too large and the Airbus A330 plane did not offer enough versatility to fly long distances. Cathay confirmed it would operate its first long-haul flight, to London Gatwick airport, with the new aircraft type, on September 2.