Sources familiar with the matter have revealed to Bloomberg that the airline aims to deliver the A321neos between late 2025 and 2027. However, the individuals are anonymously sharing this information as the discussions are not public.
Cathay Pacific to Lease 18 A321neos
Cathay is collaborating with leasing companies with existing orders, enabling them to acquire the aircraft more promptly than if they were to engage Airbus directly.
As Airbus has almost filled up its delivery slots for A320neo-family aircraft until 2029, Cathay is pursuing this route to expedite its acquisition.
Increased demand for aircraft due to significant orders placed by airlines like IndiGo (6E) has led to leasing firms becoming an attractive option for securing planes for various operators.
Securing 18 aircraft through this arrangement would contribute to Cathay’s objective of obtaining leased planes.
In March, Bloomberg News disclosed that Cathay and its low-cost subsidiary HK Express could potentially acquire up to 50 A320-family aircraft from leasing companies.
As indicated by the sources, Cathay is currently in discussions with only a limited number of lessors.
Investment in New Aircraft
As the airline group rebounds from the impact of the Covid pandemic, it is firmly dedicated to substantial investments in aircraft for the purpose of rejuvenating and enlarging its fleet.
This expansion phase is strategically aligned with the development of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). It is anticipated to conclude by the end of 2024. This runway addition will result in a 50% increase in capacity.
Currently, the carrier is in the process of conducting a review aimed at replacing its existing fleet of 43 Airbus A330 widebody aircraft.
These planes are predominantly deployed for short- and medium-haul flights within the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, the airline aims to incorporate more freighter aircraft into its fleet.
In a statement, Cathay stated that it remains committed to expanding its fleet through the inclusion of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft.
However, the company refrained from providing any specific updates or announcements concerning its fleet at this time. On the other hand, Airbus declined to provide comments on the matter.
The Cathay Pacific Group, which encompasses Air Hong Kong, an all-cargo carrier, currently operates a fleet of 225 aircraft.
Its initial order comprised 32 A321neos, evenly divided between Cathay and HK Express. Among these, 12 are in operation for Cathay, and one has been deployed for its low-cost subsidiary. Notably, Airbus serves as the exclusive supplier for its single-aisle aircraft.
During a March interview, Cathay’s CEO Ronald Lam stated that the airline was in the process of evaluating various possibilities concerning new aircraft.
Lam mentioned, “We have requirements for replacing our wide-body fleet and expanding our narrow-body fleet. We intend to explore all available options to ensure that we secure the most fitting agreements.”
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