Cathay Pacific has delayed the delivery of its Boeing 777-9 jets to "beyond 2025" as part of a sweeping restructure of the airline, which will also see the Cathay Dragon brand shut down.
The Oneworld member has 21 Boeing 777-9 jetliners on order, with deliveries previously slated to begin in 2021 and stream through to 2024.
However, Boeing announced on July 30 that the launch of the already-delayed 777X will take place sometime in 2022.
Greg Hughes, Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer for the Cathay Pacific Group, told media on August 12 "we're in discussions with Boeing about a deferral of the 777-9 program (but) not a cancellation of it... it's a deferral of all 21 aircraft."
In an update today, Cathay Pacific Group Chairman Patrick Healy revealed "the delivery of the 777-9 fleet has been postponed beyond 2025".
Suites and seats also delayed
The Boeing 777-9 was intended to become Cathay's new flagship, and also serve as the launchpad for all-new first class suites and business class seats.
Cathay had yet to reveal exactly what was planned for its Boeing 777-9, although those plans would likely be locked in by now, given the necessary lead-time in designing, testing, manufacturing and certifying each seat.
The airline has previously told Executive Traveller that its Boeing 777-9s will be crowned by an all-new first class cabin, to replace the current long-lived design which debuted in 2007 – which will make it almost 20 years old by the time the first Boeing 777-9 takes wing.
In shaping a new first class for a new decade, Cathay Pacific is understood to have worked through mock-ups of high-walled private cribs as well as the more open design of the current first class suites.
Likewise, Cathay Pacific's current business class seat is based on a design from 2011 – so, is this time for 'evolution or revolution' of Cathay's long-range business class experience?
While the airline was known to have been in 'deep evaluation' of several concepts – including at least one which swapped the classic and popular angled layout for a staggered forward-facing seat orientation – nothing of substance has surfaced.
Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways are also in the Boeing 777-9 queue – and, in common with Cathay Pacific, intend to use the Boeing 777-9 to debut new business class and in some cases first class products.
Cathay has also delayed the delivery of several Airbus A350 and A321neo jets, with the later slated for Cathay Dragon but now to be shared between Cathay Pacific and HK Express.