Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific has announced additional flights to multiple destinations, saying that it will now carry as many passengers as it did before the financial crisis.

The airline intends to offer extra flights to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France and Japan, increasing its overall capacity by around four percent.

Cathay Pacific boss Tony Tyler said that "together with our new Milan and Moscow services, launched respectively in March and July this year, these service enhancements will certainly boost Hong Kong's position as one of the world's leading aviation hubs."

The airline has also announced that it is to purchase 30 of the next-generation A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) aircraft from Airbus, following the lead of Qatar, Emirates and Asiana Airlines.

The A350 XWB, due for introduction in 2013, is designed to be more fuel efficient and comfortable than the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which recently made its first public appearance at the Farnborough Air Show and is set to go into service by next year.

As well as the width though, the A350 XWB's range makes it an attractive option for airlines - the 17,600 kilometers quoted for the long-haul version is enough to make a London to Sydney non-stop route, previously unattainable, a reality.

Cathay Pacific says that it will use the aircraft for its non-stop flights to Europe and America.