Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s dominant carrier, has reached another fleet milestone. The Boeing 777-200 is no longer an active member of Cathay Pacific’s fleet. For the airline, the retirement of aging aircraft allows for the induction of more fuel-efficient planes as well as a reduction in maintenance costs.
Cathay Pacific retired the first commercial Boeing 777 in 2018. B-HNL was the registration of the first-ever 777-200. Since then, the airline has withdrawn additional aircraft from service. The final 777-200 in Cathay Pacific’s fleet, B-HND, made its last commercial flight from Seoul to Hong Kong on August 7th, according to Flightradar24. Then, the aircraft flew an early morning positioning flight to Xiamen.
As per Airfleets, the final Boeing 777-200 withdrawn from service was over 23 years old. Most airlines prefer to operate a younger fleet. In fact, having a young fleet can be a major selling point for both shareholders and passengers.
Unlike regional carriers in the United States, a fair number of regional flights in East Asia are operated with high-density widebody aircraft. The original 777-200 variant, unlike the long-range and extended-range version, does not offer a great range. As such, the aircraft was perfect for high-density, regional hops throughout Asia.
The 777-200 is not Cathay Pacific’s only regional aircraft. The Airbus A330 also serves regional hops in Cathay Pacific livery.
On routes where additional capacity is needed, the 777-300 comes in handy. Although, the 777-300ER does operate a number of long-haul routes.
In addition, there is also Cathay Dragon. This subsidiary primarily serves regional routes throughout East Asia using the narrowbody A320 family of aircraft as well as a number of A330s. HK Express was recently purchased by Cathay too, in a move that consolidated the carrier’s control of Hong Kong. HK Express uses narrowbody aircraft on regional routes.
Overall, even with the withdrawal of the 777-200s, Cathay Pacific’s regional network remains strong. It is not expected that regional routes will be shut down due to lack of available aircraft.
Cathay Pacific has a replacement in mind. Emirates, looking to offload some 777-300s, found a customer in Cathay Pacific.
However, Cathay Pacific also has new aircraft on order. In particular, both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X have been selected by Cathay Pacific. The A350s primarily focus on long-haul routes to destinations like Washington D.C. and Tel Aviv.
For avgeeks, this marks the end of an era. Most airlines are looking for replacements for older Boeing 777s. That being said, the long-range and extended-range versions of the aircraft should be flying for a number of years to come. And, hopefully, by 2020, the 777X will have flown.
Have you flown on a Cathay Pacific 777-200? Are you going to miss the 777-200? Let us know in the comments!
Simple Flying reached out to Cathay Pacific for comment. However, no response was received by the time of publication.