MIAMI – Cathay Pacific Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for 32 A321neo single-aisle aircraft to be operated by the regional carrier of the Group — Cathay Dragon on destinations across Asia.

“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,” said Rupert Hogg, Cathay Pacific CEO and Cathay Dragon Chairman.

This announcement comes after both, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, registered a strong 85% load factor on all its network flights. According to reports, the airline suffered a 3.9% decrease in passenger revenue and a 5.2% decrease in yields.

Cathay Dragon is an all Airbus operator, with a current fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft and 24 wide-body A330-300s. In addition, Cathay Pacific operates 37 A330-300s, making the Group the largest A330 operator in the Asia-Pacific region.

“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,” Hogg remarked

Cathay Pacific also operates the all-new long haul A350 XWB, with 17 A350-900s already in service. The carrier has another 31 A350 XWBs on order for future delivery, including the A350-900 and larger A350-1000.

The A321 is the largest member of the A320 Family and seats up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 20% per seat and can fly up to 4,000 nautical miles non-stop.

John Leahy, Airbus COO, Customers said: “Airbus is proud to have been selected to supply Cathay Dragon’s future single-aisle fleet. This is another major endorsement of the A321neo as the aircraft of choice in the middle-of-the-market segment.”

To date, the Family has won over 13,200 orders and more than 7,700 aircraft have been delivered to some 400 customers and operators worldwide. The new A321neo aircraft will replace Cathay Dragon’s fleet of 15 A320s and eight A321s.

The Cathay Dragon network currently covers 56 Asian destinations, including 28 in mainland China.