Recasts paragraph 1, updates with details and background from paragraph 2
Dec 8 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways 0293.HK on Friday said it has placed an order to purchase six Airbus A350 freighters for a basic price of $2.71 billion, potentially replacing its aging cargo fleet of Boeing 747 jets.
Under the deal, Cathay has also secured the right to acquire 20 more Airbus A350 freighters as the Hong Kong carrier renews the oldest section of its fleet of 747 cargo jets.
Cathay expects the six freighters to be delivered by the end of 2029.
Late November, Reuters reported that the flag carrier was favouring Airbus for the widely watched deal.
The selection means Cathay will replace its Boeing 747 fleet with the new Airbus aircraft after several months of postponing a decision.
Boeing did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comments.
"These highly fuel-efficient, next-generation freighters will provide important additional cargo capacity, expand our global network and contribute to our sustainability leadership goals," Cathay Group CEO Ronald Lam said.
Cathay's choice for the next phase of cargo development is seen as a key test for the two freighters, given that the airline operates Boeing 777 and A350 passenger models.
The Airbus freighters will link Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland coupled with long-haul destinations in North and South America as well as Europe, Cathay said.
(Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)
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