Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong International) has committed to an additional thirty-two A320neo and A321neo aircraft, according to a September 29 statement from Airbus. An undisclosed number of them will go to subsidiary HK Express, with all scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2029.

In a Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) filing, Cathay Pacific said it would pay for the aircraft via a series of sale and leaseback arrangements, finance leases, bank loans, and cash reserves. It secured the aircraft by exercising options from a September 2017 purchase agreement and noted that the purchase price is a significant discount from the USD4.66 billion list price.

Cathay's top shareholders, Swire Group and Air China (CA, Beijing Capital), which account for more than 50% of Cathay's voting stock, have approved the acquisition. Payment will be made for each aircraft over eight instalments, with the final instalment and outstanding balance payable on delivery.

The order doubles the number of A320neo Family aircraft that Cathay Pacific Group intends to take, with a September 2017 order also being for thirty-two of the same type. So far, the group has taken delivery of fourteen A321-200NX jets from that order.

"The Airbus aircraft will expand the fleet capacity of the company and Hong Kong Express," said Cathay's filing. "They will principally serve destinations in the Chinese Mainland and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. The company expects that the Airbus aircraft will deliver improved efficiency and capability of the fleet [...] over time at competitive operating costs while providing high standards of passenger comfort and safety."

Cathay Pacific's 192-strong fleet currently comprises three A320-200s, three A321-200s, twelve A321-200NX, fifty-one A330-300s, eighteen A350-1000s, twenty-nine A350-900s, six B747-400ERFs, fourteen B747-8Fs, seventeen B777-300s, and thirty-nine B777-300ERs. HK Express operates 29 aircraft, including six A320-200s, ten A320-200Ns, eleven A321-200s, and two A321-200NX.

Separately, BOC Aviation announced on October 2 that it intends to acquire nine A321neo aircraft from Cathay Pacific Group, with these aircraft due to be delivered in 2026/27.