Cathay Pacific will delay the delivery of new Airbus A350 and A321neo jets, with the debut of the Boeing 777-9 also likely to be pushed back.
Two years have been added to the Airbus delivery schedule, which impacts the arrival of 12 A350-900 and A350-1000 jets bound for Cathay Pacific along with 32 of the single-aisle Airbus A321neo workhorses to be shared between regional carrier Cathay Dragon and low-cost arm Hong Kong Express.
The Cathay Dragon A321neos will also see the arrival of a next-generation regional business class seat, although this is expected to be a recliner rather than converting to a fully lie-flat bed.
In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as first reported by Reuters, Cathay Pacific said it had reached agreement with Airbus on the following revised timetable:
- the delivery of more A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, previously slated for 2020 and 2021, will now extend from 2020 to 2023
- the A321neo aircraft, which were scheduled for 2020-2023, will now stretch through from 2020 to 2025
The airline added that "advanced negotiations are also ongoing with Boeing for the deferral of 777-9 deliveries." Cathay has signed up for 21 Boeing 777-9s, with deliveries across mid-2021 to 2024 – the 777-9 is also intended to be the launchpad for new first class suites and business class seats.
However, launch customer Emirates now says it expects the already-delayed Boeing 777 to miss its planned debut next year, and has reset its sights on a 2022 delivery.
Cathay Pacific joins other airlines around the world in deferring and in some cases cancelling orders for new aircraft, in order to wind back capital expenditure and conserve cash as they ride out the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Qatar Airways has 40 Airbus A321neo jets on order, alongside ten of the extended-range A321neo LR models: both were due to arrive this year, but "the first A321 will (now) be delivered to us in 2022," according to Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker.