Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-9 deliveries pushed back to "beyond 2025"

The airline's new flagship, along with its new first class suites and business class seats, are now at least five years away...

By David Flynn, October 21 2020
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-9 deliveries pushed back to

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.

Cathay's Boeing 777 first class will make way for an all-new design on the 777X.
Cathay's Boeing 777 first class will make way for an all-new design on the 777X.

The suites have since undergone two updates of the physical or 'hard' product – once in 2013, another in 2017 – with a 'soft product' refresh from late 2019.

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?

How much change is Cathay planning from its current decade-old business class design?
How much change is Cathay planning from its current decade-old business class design?

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.

LufthansaSingapore 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.

Also read: Coming soon - Cathay's new Airbus A321neo regional business class

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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