Cathay Dragon (what was Dragonair) has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for its fleet renewal, selecting 32 Airbus A321 aircraft.
The aircraft will be used to replace the existing fleet of 15 A320 and eight A321 aircraft (23 narrow body aircraft), with the balance being used to expand its network.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer and Cathay Dragon Chairman Rupert Hogg is happy with the choice, stating
“The Airbus fleet has been serving Cathay Dragon well over the decades. With the A321neo we expect to benefit from a very significant increase in operating efficiency, while increasing capacity in the Cathay Dragon network in order to expand our reach to more customers.
The intention to purchase these 32 environmentally-friendly aircraft will allow us to add new destinations to Cathay Dragon’s network, increase frequency on some of our most popular routes and expand our network in the region in order to provide more travel choices and convenience to our customers.”
No decisions on seating layouts has been made yet (even though the A321 can take up to 240 passengers in an all-economy configuration). Expect something once the Memorandum of Understanding is converted into an order, and suppliers lined up to fit the plane.
Airlines are already taking advantage of the A321neos range, with a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles, making this perfect for long and thin routes – and opening up new destinations.
Cathay Dragon currently operates to 56 destinations within the Asia region, with 28 of those in China. The airline is an all-Airbus operator (compared to its sister airline Cathay Pacific), operating 23 A320 family aircraft and 24 Airbus A330-300 wide body aircraft. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific operate 37 Airbus A330-300s and 17 A350-900s (with 31 of the -900 and -1000 on order).
It’s an interesting move for Cathay Dragon to make as it standardises to two types in its fleet. There will be plenty of capacity in these new aircraft (which will have more seats to fill that the current A320/A321 family – or there could be plenty of space for some innovative products both up front and in the rear of the plane.
We’ll have to wait until the actual order is announced and suppliers are lined up to find out what the cabin might be like…
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.
Follow me on Twitter at @EconomyBeyond for the latest updates!