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Cathay Group Commits To 32 Airbus A320neo Family Aircraft


  • Cathay Group announces a plan to purchase up to 32 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft, supporting its fleet expansion and flight connectivity at Hong Kong International Airport hub.
  • The new aircraft will primarily serve destinations in the Chinese Mainland and other parts of Asia.
  • Cathay Pacific and HK Express are satisfied with their existing A321neo fleet and aim to enhance customer experience with the latest technological enhancements for quieter, more comfortable, and fuel-efficient journeys.

In its 2022 Global Market Forecast, Airbus said that airlines globally will need 31,620 new single-aisle jets between 2022 and 2041, with 14,560 destined for the Asia-Pacific region. Today, the Cathay Group announced the future of 32 of those 14,560 narrowbody aircraft.

More planes for Cathay Pacific and HK Express

The Cathay Group has announced plans to exercise options on up to 32 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft. The aircraft will join the fleets of Cathay Pacific and HK Express, with the group saying they will principally be serving destinations in the Chinese Mainland and elsewhere in Asia.

HK Express A321neo

Image: Cathay Group

The fact that the two airlines are keeping the new generation aircraft reasonably close to home is probably why there is no mention of the longer-range A321LR and A321XLR, although orders often change as time rolls on. Indeed, with the aircraft to be delivered by 2029, there is plenty of time to fine-tune capabilities and determine which variant best fits the group closer to delivery.

In the announcement, the group explained that today’s commitment is an investment in its fleet’s continued expansion and modernization and supports its aim to grow flight connectivity at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) hub. This new commitment will bring the Group’s new aircraft deliveries to more than 70 aircraft.

Cathay Group CEO Ronald Lam said it is committed to investing in the group’s long-term future and the Hong Kong international aviation hub, which is expected to grow exponentially with the operation of the Three-Runway System. He went on to say:

“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.

“As we strive towards achieving our vision of becoming one of the world’s great service brands, we remain committed to continuously investing in our customer experience. These aircraft feature the latest technological enhancements to provide a quieter, more comfortable and more fuel-efficient journey for our customers.”

Cathay Group is happy with the new A321neo it is operating

Cathay Group placed an order for 32 Airbus A321neos in 2017 and has already taken in thirteen of the jets, and today’s commitment adds up to another 32 single-aisle Airbus aircraft to the Group’s fleet. According to, Cathay Pacific has 12 A321neos in its fleet with four to be delivered, while HK Express has one A321neo with 15 on order.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A321neo at Phuket International Airport.

Photo: Komenton/Shutterstock

Apart from the 12 A321neos, Cathay Pacific’s narrowbody fleet includes four A320-200s and three A321-200s. Its widebody passenger fleet has 51 A330-300s, 29 A350-900s, 18 A350-1000s, 17 Boeing 777-300s and 39 777-300ERs. With a base in one of the world’s major trading centers it’s unsurprising that Cathay has 20 freighters, including 14 747-8Fs and six 747-400ERFs, bringing its total fleet count to 193 aircraft.

HK Express is the Group’s low-cost carrier and operates an all-Airbus fleet of 28 aircraft, with the 15 A321neos to be delivered. The current fleet includes six A320-200s, 10 A320neos, 11 A321-200s and the one A321neo. It is a young fleet with an average age of just 5.9 years that it operates to destinations in China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

HK Express route-map

Image: HK Express

With production slots at Boeing and Airbus becoming ever more crowded, the Cathay Group is making decisions now that will pay off in the future. Adding more new-generation aircraft will also help it meet its net-zero and emission-reduction goals.



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