In an interesting move, Cathay Pacific has made a “non-binding” preliminary agreement to buy 32 A321neos. Deliveries are set to start in 2020 and go through 2023. The A321neos will replace Cathay Dragon’s 15 A320s and eight A321s the airline said in a statement. The aircraft to be replaced include 15 that are only 12 years old.
The move suggests Cathay is bullish on continued growth in the regional Chinese market. The new fleet is going to be 39% bigger but crucially will seat potentially 60% more passengers. Cathay is unlikely to go for the full 240 seats though; perhaps the capacity growth is more likely to be 23% greater. The order will offer the airline more seats and capabilities.
Since deliveries are some time off, no engine selection has been made. You can be sure for a tier one brand like Cathay, this will be a tough battle between the engine OEMs. The current fleet uses V2500s, giving P&W has the incumbent position.