The group stated in a release November 8 that its full-service regional carrier Cathay Dragon will operate the first 16 of these narrow-body A321neo aircraft upon delivery from 2020 to 2022. Cathay Dragon was originally slated to receive all 32 A321neos.
Instead, the group said that now as part of its fleet optimization plan the remaining 16 aircraft will join the HK Express fleet from 2022, the move revealing for the first time the group’s plans for the budget airline it acquired in March this year.
In total, the Cathay group has existing orders for 65 new aircraft that it will receive by 2024. Aside from the 32 A321neo aircraft, this includes the delivery of 21 state-of-the-art Boeing 777-9 aircraft and 12 modern Airbus A350.
“The Cathay Pacific Group will optimise the passenger fleet of its airline—Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and HK Express—in order to allow each airline to achieve their full development potential by leveraging their respective unique strengths,” the statement said.
The move is also designed to maximize each airline’s operational efficiency and synergy, ensuring greater connectivity for the airline group through its home hub and stronger growth potential to bolster its position as Asia’s leading international aviation hub, it added.
The group has four airlines, each with its clear proposition, Cathay Pacific group chief executive officer Augustus Tang said.
Cathay Pacific will continue to operate as an international full-service airline providing premium services to customers while Cathay Dragon is the regional full-service carrier.
Meanwhile, HK Express will remain as a stand-alone, low-cost airline focusing on serving leisure travel destinations.
Cathay Pacific took control of HK Express from HNA group in March 2019, the acquisition aiming to give Cathay group access to the growing budget-travel market.
AHK Air Hong Kong will continue to be the group’s all-cargo carrier specializing in express cargo services.
“We will continue to invest in each of our airlines, their products and services. New aircraft are always the best platform to showcase our customer experience offerings which we are continuously enhancing in the spirit of our progressive and thoughtful ‘Move Beyond’ brand values,” said Tang.