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Why This Airline Is Planning to Replace Nearly Half Its Fleet

December 16, 2016

Dragon air (L) and Cathay Pacific planesDragon air (L) and Cathay Pacific planes
Then-Dragonair and Cathay Pacific planes parked at Hong Kong International Airport, pictured on Sept. 3 2007. TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

Cathay Dragon, the sister airline of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific (CPCAY), on Friday said it intends to replace its existing narrowbody fleet of 23 Airbus Group planes as part of a modernization plan.

The airline said it had issued a request-for-proposal to upgrade its 15 A320 and eight A321 planes and expected the first of these new aircraft to arrive by 2019. It did not say whether it was looking at Boeing (BA) or Airbus (EADSY) models.

“The process will allow us to explore the full range of products and options of various size and range that can complement the airline’s fleet development needs,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

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The former Dragonair was rebranded as Cathay Dragon in November and the replacement plans come as its parent company grapples with weak passenger traffic figures that recently forced it to issue a profit warning.

Cathay Dragon’s total fleet comprises of 42 planes, including 19 A330 jets. The South China Morning Post first reported the purchase plan on Friday.