Boeing overnight confirmed that its first 777-9 aircraft won't be delivered to until "late 2023", with the next-generation Boeing 777 now running three years behind schedule.
With Emirates lined up as launch customer for the 777-9, it's now likely that Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines could see their own 777-9 deliveries – and the launch of their respective new business class seats – pushed back to 2024.
Cathay Pacific has already advised that "the delivery of the 777-9 fleet has been postponed beyond 2025". The Boeing 777-9 was intended to become Cathay's new flagship and introduce new designs for first class and business class.
Lufthansa's all-new Boeing 777-9 business class, which not only affords direct aisle access for all passengers but sees every second row boasting a centre 'throne' seat – the ultimate for solo flyers seeking more space and more privacy.
This, in turn, was part of Lufthansa's move towards a 'tailored' model where passengers will pay a base fare for the core business class experience – lounge access, seat and meals – with an extra charge levied on the throne, or those seats which convert into the longest bed (up to 2.2m at some prized locations).
“It's not just one business class anymore," Lufthansa exec Harry Hohmeister previously told Executive Traveller.
"Within the (Boeing 777X) business class cabin, you can upgrade yourself to an even better product than just standard business class… it’s a real jump forward in terms of convenience, and in terms of product selection... it's not unbundling, it's upgrading.”
As previously reported, Lufthansa has also held discussions with Airbus over speeding up the delivery of a second tranche of A350 jets – potentially leased rather than purchased outright – fitted with the same business class.
Singapore Airlines also plans to use the Boeing 777-9 as the launchpad for new premium product, in this case including new first class suites alongside business class.
The airline has already showcased its proposed Boeing 777-9 seating to a number of stakeholders and top-tier frequent flyers who signed non-disclosure agreement.
The Star Alliance member's current Boeing 777 first and business class were launched in 2013, which means they'll be over a decade old by the time the 777-9 versions hit the stage.
Sliding privacy doors have been suggested as a key feature of Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 777X first class suites, which CEO Goh has previously promised "will be a first class that we believe when we launch (it) will again set industry standards."
Goh has also talked up Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-9 business class, saying a "quantum leap" is in store.