Cathay Pacific subsidiary Cathay Dragon has signed a preliminary deal to take 32 Airbus A321neo single-aisle aircraft listing at $HK32 billion ($US4bn) as it moves to modernise its fleet.
The longer range and higher capacity 321neos will replace and expand Cathay Dragon’s current single-aisle fleet of 15 A320s and eight A321s from 2020.
The airline plans to use the additional aircraft to chase growth beyond its current network of 56 Asian destinations.
“The Airbus fleet has been serving Cathay Dragon well over the decade,’’ Cathay Pacific chief executive Cathay Dragon chairman Rupert Hogg said in a statement.
“With the A321neo we expect to benefit from a very significant increase in operating efficiency, while increasing capacity in the Cathay Dragon network in order to expand our reach to more customers.
“The intention to purchase these 32 environmentally-friendly aircraft will allow us to add new destinations to Cathay Dragon’s network, increase frequency on some of our most popular routes and expand our network in the region in order to provide more travel choices and convenience to our customers.”
A number of airlines have been using A321neos in lieu of widebody aircraft and Cathay has previously flagged this as a possibility for Its subsidiary.
Airbus says the A321neo has a seating capacity of up to 240 passengers and an extended range of up to 6,850 km. It offers a significant increase in operating efficiency as well as a 50 per cent reduction in noise compared to current A321s.
Cathay Dragon also flies 24 widebody A330-300s and Cathay Pacific is a big Airbus operator, with a fleet of 37 A330-300s and 17 A350-900s.
The parent airline has another 31 A350s on order, including the larger A350-1000.
It recently posted a $HK2.05 billion ($US262m) loss for the first six months of 2017 and predicted the second half was likely to be just as bad.