Cathay Pacific is among the many airlines that have ordered the Boeing 777X – specifically, the 777-9 model (sometimes also called 777-9X) – as its future flagship for long-range flights.
It’s still a few years before Cathay takes delivery of its first 777-9, but we’re here to keep you updated on the latest Cathay Pacific Boeing 777X news, including what’s planned for the all-new 777X first and class of business.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777X orders, delivery
Cathay Pacific has 21 Boeing 777-9 jetliners on order, worth over US$7 billion at list prices , with deliveries initially scheduled to begin in 2021 and stream through 2024.
However, a series of production delays in Boeing’s 777X program (which encompasses the large 777-9 and the smaller but longer-range 777-8) has pushed back the 777-9’s debut to 2024, in the ongoing to the annoyance of many airlines.
Faced with a longer wait than expected, and combined with the economic impact of Covid-19 and Hong Kong’s extended border closure, Cathay Pacific Group Chairman Patrick Healy announced in October 2020 “delivery of the 777-9 fleet has been delayed beyond 2025”.
Even if Cathay takes the keys to it first 777X sometime in 2026, applying the previous three-year delivery grace period for all 21 jets will mean the last of the 777-9s will arrive in the Hong Kong hangar by the end of this decade.
But Cathay faces similar challenges as other airlines that rely on the Boeing 777-9 to launch the next generation of first and business class: the risk of their current products falling behind in what is always a hyper -competitive market.
Lufthansa, which remains the launch customer for the Boeing 777-9, has decided not to wait any longer and will instead start flying the latest Allegri first class and business class on Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 jets this year.
“In terms of thinking, planning, work, it’s definitely something we consider,” admitted Vivian Lo, Cathay’s General Manager for Customer Experience & Design.
And Cathay’s current A350 business class “despite having no doors, is still very private because of the 3D shape, so I think, among non-door products, it’s still a very good one.”
“If we think the door is going to be important, it’s something we look at and will continue to look at again,” Lo said. Executive Travellerbefore adding a guarded “but no comment at this time.”
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777X first class
In mid-2018, Cathay Pacific confirmed that its Boeing 777-9s would be crowned with an all-new first class.
It will replace the airline’s current Boeing 777-300ER first class, which debuted in 2007 – making it almost 20 years old by the time the first Cathay 777x takes wing (although the 777-300ER first suites are modified on 2013 and2017, followed by a ‘soft product’ refresh from late 2019).
Cathay Pacific is understood to have worked through a range of mock-ups, from high-walled private havens with sliding doors to something that embraces the more open design of the current first class suites.
“We’re building models and testing different concepts, but we haven’t finalized it yet,” said former Cathay CEO Rupert Hogg. Executive Traveller in June 2018. “We spent a lot of time designing and testing the product.”
When asked if Cathay was leaning more towards sliding doors versus open suites, Hogg said “that’s the debate right now – although I won’t tell you which side of that debate we’re on, mainly because it’s not over yet.”
About some first class suites that the Cathay 777x will have – the same number as six Boeing 777-300ERs, or more, or less – “we’re working through it” by studying demand trends , Hogg said at the time.
“The demand for first class falls into three segments,” he explained. “There is a corporate first class market, generally shrinking because the number of companies offering first class travel is declining.”
“There is a personal need for first class, by very wealthy individuals, and that market is quite buoyant, and first class is also part of the rewards program for a lot of people.”
“So it’s about the right balance of how many seats you have for all those segments.”
And while demand has undoubtedly changed under the Covid cloud, industry predictions from the likes of Airbus, Boeing, KPMG and McKinsey that travel will return to 2019 levels in 2024-2025, which is just a bit ahead. as Cathay expects to begin delivery of its 777-9 jet.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777X business class
The Boeing 777-9 is also intended to serve as a launchpad for a new business class experience.
Cathay Pacific’s latest business class seat on the Airbus A350 is an improved version of the original Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 (codenamed FB2) design from 2011.
But after more than a decade on the air, is it time to move on? evolution of this chair – a third generation of the most popular platform – or should we be sweeping revolution of Cathay’s business class experience?
In recent years, Cathay Pacific has been known to be in ‘deep evaluation’ of several concepts, including at least one that swapped out this angled seating layout for a forward-facing orientation. However, nothing comes out.
JPA Design builds Cathay’s 777X cabin
what are we do it is known that development of the Cathay 777X first class suites and business class seats is underway, and feted firm JPA Design appears to be behind the next-generation products.
JPA’s relationship with Cathay Pacific dates back to the carrier’s 2011 Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 business class, which are based on the benchmark Cirrus platform pioneered by JPA.
The highly regarded company is also behind Cathay’s latest Airbus A321neo regional business class.
JPA’s airline portfolio too including Japan Airlines’ Boeing 777 first class and business class, although the most high-profile airline job is for longtime customer Singapore Airlines.
It started from Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 747 first class to Boeing 777 first class and business class upgrade in 2013…
… and both the 2007 and 2017 iterations of SQ’s Airbus A380 superjumbo business class.
Simply put, JPA has a lot of cred when it comes to premium cabins – and a page on the JPA website lists one of the company’s current and “Confidential” projects as “Cathay Pacific – Future aircraft cabins.”
Under the heading of “Creating the future of the Cathay Pacific flight experience” the page confirms that “We have partnered with Cathay Pacific to design and build their next generation of aircraft interior cabins.”
This suggests a complete tip-to-tail effort that is also likely to see new 777X versions of Cathay’s premium economy and economy seats – and JPA is no stranger to either class, again counting Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines among clients for those cabins.
In fact, much of JPA’s airline work covers the interior design of the entire aircraft, beyond ‘just’ the seats, as airlines strive to create a unique aesthetic within each class of travel. as well as an overall environment that is both passenger friendly and on-brand. .
The deal was signed several years before the actual aircraft was delivered, again aligning with Cathay’s Boeing 777X delivery schedule.