Cathay Pacific has announced an “intention to purchase” 32 Airbus A320 and A321neo aircraft to expand and modernize its fleet.
The airline highlighted in a press release issued on August 10, 2023, that the order would increase its new aircraft backlog to 70, with the 32 narrow-body jets scheduled to be delivered by 2029. According to a previous Bloomberg report, the Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)-based carrier was looking to lease 18 Airbus A321neo aircraft to be delivered between 2025 and 2027.
Cathay Pacific said that the 32 aircraft would be assigned to both Cathay Pacific and its low-cost subsidiary HK Express, “principally serving destinations in the Chinese Mainland and elsewhere in Asia”. However, the airline did not clarify whether it was purchasing these aircraft directly or on lease from an aircraft lessor.
“We are committed to investing in the long-term future of the Group and the Hong Kong international aviation hub, which is expected to grow exponentially with the operation of the Three-Runway System,” Ronald Lam, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Cathay Group, said.
The airline initially revealed the acquisition in a separate announcement when it published its H1 2023 results on August 9, 2023. At the time, Cathay Pacific said that it intended “to exercise the Purchase Rights” to order up to 32 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft on or before September 30, 2023.
“These aircraft models have been serving Cathay Pacific and HK Express well, allowing us to strengthen the expansion of our Chinese Mainland and regional network for our customers,” Lam added.
Cathay Pacific ended H1 2023 with a net profit of HKD4.2 billion ($537.1 million) on revenues of HKD43.5 billion ($5.5 billion). When announcing the results, the airline’s chairman, Patrick Healy, noted that the first six months of 2023 were positive as the airline “worked to rebuild connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub following the full reopening of borders in Hong Kong and in the Chinese Mainland”.
On the same day, the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA), the union representing the carrier’s pilots, announced that it initiated the first steps towards a strike.