HONG KONG — Sources who spoke to Bloomberg anonymously have revealed that Cathay Pacific is currently in discussions with aircraft lessors to acquire up to 50 Airbus A320neo airliners as the Hong Kong-based carrier seeks to expand its fleet following the easing of Covid-related restrictions.

However, as Airbus' order book is already filled for several years to come, Cathay and its low-cost subsidiary, HK Express, are said to be exploring the option of leasing planes to expedite the process of obtaining them. Although the company would prefer to purchase new aircraft directly from Airbus, the manufacturer is fully booked until 2029.

Cathay Pacific and its low-cost unit, HK Express, currently possess a fleet of 222 aircraft, which includes 40 A320 family jets. Following three years of border closures and arduous quarantine measures, Cathay is now making a bid for a resurgence under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Ronald Lam. With the demand for air travel steadily increasing, Lam is determined to guide the airline back to a state of net profitability.

When we approached for a statement, a representative of Cathay Pacific declined to comment on the matter. In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, CEO Ronald Lam stated that the airline is currently evaluating its choices regarding aircraft.

"We have replacement needs for the widebody fleet, and we have growth needs for the narrowbody fleet, and we will look at all options and make sure that we get the most suitable deals," Lam said.

The pandemic dealt a severe blow to Cathay Pacific, as Hong Kong implemented strict measures for both travelers and crew, including mandatory hotel quarantine. As a result, the airline saw a significant drop in daily passenger numbers, with only a few hundred people flying during the height of the crisis.

However, with the lifting of Covid-related restrictions, passenger traffic has been steadily increasing, and last month, Cathay transported approximately 1.1 million passengers.