Cathay Pacific is getting set to welcome the Airbus A350 into its fleet, ahead of first commercial flights in February 2016.
The airline hasn't yet revealed which city will be graced with the next-gen jet's debut, although it's believed that Auckland sits very high on the list.
Cathay's first two A350s are already trundling down the final assembly line at Airbus' Toulouse base, with a staggering 46 more to follow – an order split between the mid-sized A350-900 and the larger A350-1000, the later of which will see a new first class cabin joining Cathay's new A350-900 business class and premium economy seats (but not an inflight bar).
The airline is also looking to learn lessons from Qatar Airways' launch of the A350.
"We’ve been through our first technical review meeting with Airbus to review the early entry-into-service experience of Qatar and to understand any early maturity issues that may affect the first Cathay aircraft," explains Bob Taylor, Head of the CX A350 Project.
"Our understanding is that the aircraft is performing quite well technically although some early maturity issues still have to be addressed. The feedback from operating crews has been very positive."
Back at Cathay City, the airline's bustling headquarters adjacent to Hong Kong Airport, a state-of-the-art Airbus A350 flight simulator has been installed at the CX Flight Training Centre.
This was no easy feat, with the bulky simulator cockpit hoisted by crane into the facility via a gaping hole crated in the building's wall.
The job required equal parts machine and muscle.
The sim will be loaded with super-realistic maps fired from 4K 'Ultra HD' projectors, which Manager Simulator Engineering Neil Cothran says will produce "fantastic images."
"Also, the cockpit is huge. Combined with some of the design features of the simulator structure, everyone will notice how large it is inside."
Once the sim is fully tested, certified and signed off in September, instructors, engineers and pilots will begin training in earnest.
The four-hour dry run in an A350 mock-up dubbed 'Cabin Zero' – on an imaginary journey from the Canary Islands to Hamburg, Germany – included a hearty hot lunch, mood lighting and realistic flight sounds (courtesy of Microsoft Flight Simulator software).
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT