It may seem surprising that Asia's oldest aircraft fleet is operated by Cathay Dragon, part of the Cathay Pacific Group that is one of Asia's historically blue-chip, but now challenged, aviation companies. Cathay, according to the South China Morning Post, is midway through an RFP to acquire 23 next-generation narrowbody aircraft from 2019. Meanwhile its local rival HK Express has already received its first A320neo.
Cathay Dragon operates 42 passenger aircraft, including 23 narrowbodies with an average fleet age of 12.6 years. The A330s – including the world's oldest – push average fleet age to 14.5 years, the highest of major Asian airlines. The A320s alone would still be the oldest fleet; Korean Air has the second oldest fleet, but at a younger 9.8 years.
The aircraft order is overdue and Cathay missed an opportunity five to ten years ago to grow a larger footprint in mainland China. Now the Singapore Airlines Group – thanks to narrowbodies and LCCs – serves more Chinese cities than Cathay does in its own backyard. Although it is a buyer's market for new aircraft these are precarious times at Cathay, whose fiery unions lack confidence in management spending and direction. As Cathay restructures it appears that inevitably staff will have to make salary sacrifices, further challenging how to communicate the necessity of long term investments.
To access CAPA Premium Analysis you need a CAPA Membership
Your window into the latest insights
CAPA employs an industry-leading Analyst team based in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia who offer unique perspectives and independent and accurate commentary of critical industry developments globally. CAPA Members rely on our Analysis to unlock valuable insights and actionable intelligence to keep ahead of the game.
Big picture strategic view
Our Analysts don’t just report the news - they take a big picture strategic view of aviation dynamics, issues and trends and analyse the implications of these developments for you.
The CAPA Analyst team is based globally to ensure our CAPA Members have access to independent, unique perspectives covering an entire spectrum of daily, worldwide commercial aviation developments.
Customise your Alerts
CAPA Members can use CAPA Alerts to receive daily, weekly or monthly and customised updates on our Analysis.
I'm very impressed by the factual and detailed analysis CAPA is always doing.- CEO, Airline Member
Phone: +61 2 9241 3200 | Email: email@example.com