As part of a fleet optimization plan, Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific will be allocating an order for Airbus A321 aircraft between its subsidiaries HK Express and Cathay Dragon.

The shift will involve an order for 32 A321neos placed in late 2017, which are due to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.

As part of the plan, the first 16 of the jets to arrive will be operated by Cathay Pacific's regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon. The second half which is scheduled to arrive starting 2022 will be used by HK Express.

Cathay Pacific has a total of 65 aircraft on order from both Airbus and Boeing. Along with the 32 A321s, the airline 12 A350s on order plus 21 Boeing 777-9 for long haul flights.

In a statement, Cathay Pacific Group CEO Augustus Tang said: “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 specializing in express cargo services.

The announced is the first addition of aircraft to HK Express' fleet since it was acquired by Cathay Pacific this year. Formerly owned by the Chinese HNA Group, HK Express is a wholly owned by Cathay Pacific though it is a stand-alone airline with its own branding.

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