Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Group is to exercise purchase rights on up to 32 more Airbus A320neo family aircraft, marking its first aircraft commitment since the pandemic.
The disclosure comes as it works to return all stored aircraft to its fleet by mid-2024, paving the way for a full capacity recovery by the end of next year.
The airline group, comprising mainline operator Cathay and low-cost unit HK Express, holds purchase rights on the 32 aircraft dating back to an original order for 32 A321neos placed in September 2017. It today says in a stock exchange filing that it intends to exercise the purchase rights on up to 32 A320/321-200neos ”on or before” 30 September. The new narrowbodies would be delivered between 2025 and 2029.
Speaking at a results briefing on 9 August, Cathay’s chief operations and service delivery officer Alex McGowan says the new aircraft will go to both Cathay and HK Express, but that the split in deliveries “has not been decided” yet.
Cathay currently has 12 A321neos in service, with another four on order, while HK Express has a single example in its fleet, with another 15 on order.
Speaking at a results briefing on 9 August, Cathay’s chief operations and service delivery officer Alex McGowan said the new aircraft will go to both Cathay and HK Express, but that the split in deliveries “has not been decided” yet.
The airline group has been gradually returning aircraft to service since the easing of Covid travel restrictions. It still has 24 aircraft in storage in Alice Springs in Australia, and is working to return to service 18 jets by the end of this year, with five more to return to the fleet in 2024.
Cathay posted a half-year operating profit of HK$8.8 billion ($1.1 billion), reversing the HK$1.3 billion operating loss in the year-ago period and ending three years of red ink.
The group also reported a net profit of HK$4.3 billion, compared to the HK$5 billion net loss.