MIAMI — Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has firmed up an order with Airbus for 32 A321neo single-aisle aircraft, fulfilling a memorandum of understanding (MoU) announced last month. The aircraft will be placed with Cathay’s regional arm, Cathay Dragon, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay’s parent Swire Group.

The aircraft will be used to replace Cathay Dragon’s current fleet of 15 Airbus A320ceos and eight A321ceos, and operated on routes across Asian. Cathay Dragon serves 56 Asian destinations in all, including 28 in mainland China. Cathay Dragon is also an all-Airbus operator, with a current fleet of 23 A320ceo Family aircraft and 24 wide-body A330-300s. Additionally, parent company Cathay Pacific operates 37 Airbus A330-300s, making the group the largest A330 operator in the Asia-Pacific region. It also operates 18 A350-900s, with 30 additional A350 jets on order.

Depending on cabin configuration, the A321neo is the largest member of the A320neo Family, seating up to 240 passengers. This positions the type in the so-called middle of the market (MoM), covering both short haul and medium haul destinations that benefit from frequency or lower capacity. The A321neo will, of course, be used on routes to mainland China, but some newer markets like secondary Indian destinations or cities like Medan and Surabaya in Indonesia will also be in play. The A321neo has an effective range of ~3,500 nautical miles, which allows service to all of East Asia, Western Australia, South Asia, and Central Asia from Cathay’s hub at Hong Kong.