Cathay Pacific is considering a fleet renewal

Agustín Miguens

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific is considering a possible renewal of its fleet, especially to strengthen its short and medium-haul services, Bloomberg reported. A new dispute between Airbus and Boeing could thus be triggered. “We are constantly looking at the fleet requirements”, assured Augustus Tang, the company’s CEO.

“We have not come up with a decision as to when we will be going to the market, but this is a topic we are looking at very closely”, he added. While no details were released on the possible number of aircraft to be ordered, he referred to the renewal as “crucial”.

Any possible order would have to take into account the airline’s expansion plans, in a context of recovery after having gone through the worst moments of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s projections are aligned with the expansion of Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), its main base of operations, which will add a third runway in 2024 and thus increase its operational capacity.

Cathay Pacific currently has a fleet of 234 aircraft serving its passenger and cargo divisions. In the widebody segment, Airbus aircraft account for 60% of the units operating regional and long-haul flights.

Airbus A330-300s and Boeing 777-300s provide much of the company’s capacity in the Australian, Indian and Southeast Asian markets. The average age of the fleet is starting to be a factor being analyzed by the company’s management and modernization is becoming a consideration.

A fleet renewal plan could include orders for aircraft such as the A330neo, A350 or 787 Dreamliner. In this regard, Tang said that “it will most likely be an Airbus or Boeing variant, or a combination of both”. On the other hand, he said that they are also considering the 737 MAX as an alternative.

The latest variant of the U.S. manufacturer’s popular model is an attractive option to complement the current Airbus A321neo fleet operated by Cathay Pacific. This is the first narrow-body aircraft operated by the company. Both aircraft offer lower operating costs and optimized efficiency for short and medium-range routes.

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