The Cathay Pacific Group will optimise the fleet of its passenger airlines – Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong Int'l), Cathay Dragon (KA, Hong Kong Int'l) and HK Express (UO, Hong Kong Int'l) – in a move that will maximise each airline's efficiency.

With 65 aircraft due for delivery before 2024 - including 21 B777-9s, 12 A350-900s and A350-1000s, as well as 32 A321neo - the headline news from the fleet optimisation plan is that Cathay Dragon will operate the first 16 A321neo, which are due for delivery between 2020 and 2022. The remaining 16 aircraft from this part of the group's order book will join its low-cost carrier (LCC) HK Express from 2022 onwards.

There was also confirmation from the group that its in-house LCC will remain a standalone airline, focussing on serving leisure destinations.

The group hopes that by leveraging the unique strengths of each individual carrier, the fleet optimisation plan should result in better connections at Hong Kong Int'l, further strengthening its position as one of Asia's leading hubs.

The group's airlines dominate in Hong Kong, with international full-service carrier (FSC) Cathay Pacific the airport's largest seat provider, with its regional FSC Cathay Dragon in second spot and LCC HK Express in fourth position. Troubled Hong Kong Airlines (HX, Hong Kong Int'l) is currently the third-largest airline by weekly capacity at the gateway.