Cathay Pacific to purchase new mid-sized widebody aircraft to replace A330s 


Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that it is currently evaluating options for a new order of mid-sized widebody aircraft.  

Cathay Pacific has placed orders for various new aircraft types in recent months so any new commitments to purchasing planes would continue that trend.  

On January 3, 2024, Bloomberg reported that Cathay Pacific had issued a formal request for information from Airbus and Boeing for new aircraft to replace some of its older mid-sized widebody jets such as its Airbus A330s. Issuing such a request generally represents the first step in a future purchase process. 

“We are currently evaluating options for a versatile, mid-sized widebody aircraft that can undertake a range of missions and grow our passenger and cargo business,” said a statement issued by the airline.  

The carrier first publicly discussed the possibility of a mid-sized widebody evaluation process in late 2022. The company currently has 51 A330-300s in its fleet with an average age of 17.4 years which have been earmarked for replacement in the coming years.  

Cathay Pacific

The likely candidates should any formal tender process be undertaken by the airline include the Airbus A330neo and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  

In December 2023, Cathay placed a firm order to purchase six A350 freighters, with the right to acquire 20 more, as it sets about replacing its aging Boeing 747 cargo aircraft fleet.  

Further back, in September 2023, the carrier ordered 32 Airbus A320neo and A321neo single-aisle aircraft, with all deliveries to be completed to the airline by 2029. 

Cathay’s total outstanding order book currently stands at more than 70 aircraft and also includes 21 Boeing 777-9 passenger planes which are scheduled to be delivered from 2025 – a date that remains subject to the type gaining certification. 

In August 2023, Cathay said it aimed to rebuild its capacity to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. However, the airline remains among the world’s carriers most affected by the pandemic. From October to December 2023, Cathay’s Available Seat Miles figure (a standard measure of total capacity flown) was down by a massive 31% versus the same three months in 2019. In contrast, the global airline figure for the same period was just -1%. 

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