Cathay Eyes New Freighters, Medium-haul Aircraft

Cathay Eyes New Freighters, Medium-haul Aircraft

DALLAS — Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific (CX) announced that it was in talks with aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus about potential orders for its medium-haul fleet and cargo fleet. This comes as the carrier continues to rebuild to reach pre-pandemic levels after the pandemic suppressed it. 

Cathay’s Chief Commercial and Customer Officer and soon-to-be Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Lam, stated during a quarterly briefing that the carrier is looking for more medium-haul aircraft to help the growth of the airlines.

In regards to cargo aircraft, the CCO stated that CX was looking to increase the number of freighters as capacity had gone up. 

In October, in an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Lam mentioned that the carrier was open to new aircraft but that deliveries would have to wait until 2025, which is when Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKG) third runway will be fully operational. While the carrier is looking to expand its medium-haul fleet, Lam said that the carrier has “enough long-haul aircraft.” 

Cathay Pacific B-HNQ 777-300 Seoul Incheon ICN. Photo: Christian Winter/Airways

Cathay Pacific Fleet

Cathay’s long-haul fleet consists of Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s. The carrier also has orders for additional A350s and the new Boeing 777-9. The carrier’s medium-haul fleet is made up of Airbus A330-300s and Airbus A321neos.

While the A321neos are new and mostly operate the domestic and regional network the 31 A330s in the fleet are between seven and twenty-one years of age. The freighter fleet is operated by 20 Boeing 747F. This includes the older Boeing 747-400Fs (13.8 years old) and the newer Boeing 747-8F (9.7 years old). 

The carrier is hoping to return to pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2024. According to CX, by the end of 2023, the airline will operate at 70% of pre-pandemic levels. This comes as Hong Kong eases travel restrictions for the first time since 2020.

Cathay Pacific Cargo B-LJK Boeing 747-867F. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Joshua Kupietzky has a passion for aviation and deep expertise in the aviation industry. He’s been enamored with the facts and figures of the airline industry, and the details of the make and model of commercial aircraft for as long as he can remember. Based in Chicago, US. Follow him on Instagram @jbkaviation

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