Toulouse - The first of the 20 Airbus A350-1000s ordered by the Cathay Pacific airline is approaching its maiden flight, before entering into service between Hong Kong and Washington in early September.

The A350-1000 of the Hong Kong-based carrier registered B-LXA, made its first engine run on April 30. The new route between the base of Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok and the Washington-Dulles airport is expected to open on September 15 with the arrival of the first A350-1000.

Cathay's A350-1000 is configured to accommodate 46 passengers in Business class, 32 in Premium and 256 in the Economy. It will also be used on Hong Kong - Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion route from October, instead of the current A350-900.

The Oneworld alliance company will be the second operator of the A350-1000 after Qatar Airways, which took possession of the first of 37 copies expected last February. Qatar's A350-1000 accommodates 46 passengers in QSuite and 281 in the economy.