November 8th 2019, the Cathay Pacific Group announced that they will optimise the passenger fleet of their airlines – Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, and HK Express – in order to allow each airline to achieve their full development potential, by leveraging their respective unique strengths.
Specifically, the Group has existing orders for 65 new aircraft that it will receive by 2024, as part of the fleet modernisation plan. This includes:
- 21 Boeing 777-9’s
- 12 Airbus A350’s
- 32 Airbus A321neo’s
Following a comprehensive review of their airlines’ fleets, the Group has decided that Cathay Dragon will operate the first 16 of these narrow-body A321neo aircraft upon delivery from 2020 to 2022. The remaining 16 aircraft, meanwhile, will join the HK Express fleet from 2022.
We have four airlines in the group, each of them has its clear proposition. Cathay Pacific will continue to operate as an international full-service airline providing premium services to customers while Cathay Dragon is our regional full-service carrier. Meanwhile, HK Express will remain as a standalone, low-cost airline focusing on serving leisure travel destinations. AHK Air Hong Kong will continue to be the Group’s all-cargo carrier specialising in express cargo services. We will continue to invest in each of our airlines, their products and services.Cathay Pacific Group Chief Executive Officer Augustus Tang
Hong Kong Situation
Many airlines operating Hong Kong routes are experiencing a financial battering from the fall in demand, due to months of violent protests. As a result, many of them have decided to cut flights.
United Airlines has ended their daily service between Hong Kong and Chicago from September 8th, becoming the first US carrier to take action. Additionally, the service between Guam and Hong Kong was suspended from October 14th and all other flights have been downgraded to smaller aircraft.
Singapore Airlines admits that the ongoing protests are continuing to take a toll on passenger numbers. In addition, customer demand for Hong Kong-bound tickets is at an all-time low, as reported by Bloomberg. The flagship carrier for Singapore disclosed that they had trimmed seat capacity on their Hong Kong routes by 5%; their plans to add more A380 flights on the Hong Kong routes was also on hold, until the current instability has passed.
Qantas reported that the protests in Hong Kong will negatively impact the Group’s first-half profit performance by $25 million, with an ongoing capacity reduction in place to minimise the second-half impact. Specifically, the airline will use Airbus A330-200’s to operate Hong Kong flights, reducing capacity by 7%.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) said they will reduce the number of flights they operates between Japan and Hong Kong, starting in December and will continue through March 28th. The one-flight-per-day service between Nagoya and Hong Kong will be suspended. The number of flights between Tokyo Narita and Hong Kong will be reduced to one a day, from the current two.
Earlier this week, Virgin Australia became the latest carrier to announce that they would trim capacity to Hong Kong, as city-wide protests continue to take a toll on inbound passenger demand. Specifically, Virgin Australia will be scraping their daily service between Melbourne and Hong Kong, effective February 2020.