Asia’s first 777X customer has begun preparations for the introduction of their Boeing 777-9X. Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg says the airline is ‘already in discussion’ with Boeing and others on every aspect of the 777-9X aircraft, which Cathay is planning to roll out as part of the airlines’ future long-haul fleet.
On December 20th, 2013, Cathay Pacific announced an order for 21 Boeing 777-9X aircraft as part of their future long-haul fleet strategy. The order is valued at more than $7 billion at current list prices.
The 777-9X delivers Cathay Pacific with improved payload range capability and reduced operating costs, in addition to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. According to chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo, Cathay is expected to receive its first 777-9X around June 2021. Deliveries will continue through 2024.
The Boeing 777X
The Boeing 777X will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world. The 777X will feature greater cabin width and seating capacity, new GE9X engines and new composite wings with folding wingtips. Boeing designed the aircraft to build on the engineering and interior innovations introduced in their 777 and 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing has two variants for the 777X: the 777-8 and the 777-9. The technical specifications of the aircraft, are as follows:
|List Price||$360.5 million (USD)||$388.7 million (USD)|
|Range||8,700 nmi (16,110 km)||7,600 nmi (14,075 km)|
|Wingspan Extended||72 meters||72 meters|
|Folding wing-tip||Enables 23 feet (7 meters) more span to maximize fuel efficiency||Enables 23 feet (7 meters) more span to maximize fuel efficiency|
What will the interior look like on Cathay’s 777X?
Cathay Pacific’s 777-9 will feature a four-class configuration. Unlike the Airbus A350s used in their long-haul fleet, the 777-9 will feature a first class cabin. The 777-9 will receive a substantial upgrade to the soft product over existing first class seats, which are already undergoing a hard product refresh.
Cathay is working closely with the airframer, seat supplier, inflight entertainment provider, and its own industrial designer, to avoid the problems the airline encountered with its last premium product, introduced on the Airbus A350.
Vivian Lo, general manager of customer experience and design at Cathay Pacific, talked about the upgraded first class, saying,
“we have always taken pride whenever we launch a product that it is flagship and industry-leading, and that’s where we aspire to be. We’re committed to be best in class. We’re working towards a new product that will come in 2021. Meanwhile, we’re also looking at how we want to enhance the first class experience before we add the new product.”
Lo continued explaining the enhancements in more detail, saying,
“Part of that is refreshing the hard product, but my team and I are also working towards looking at the soft product, whether that’s food and beverage, the amenities, the duvets, so that you also enhance that overall experience for our most premium and special customers,”.
Do we know what routes the 777-9X will fly on?
With the capabilities that the 777X offers, it’s certain that Cathay would want to maximize the use of the aircraft by putting the aircraft on a route with a high demand each day.
John Slosar, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific, talked about the potential routes of the 777X, saying,
“We think it will be an ideal fit for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe, in particular those routes where we carry high volumes of passengers and cargo each day. Cathay Pacific is committed to modernizing its fleet to provide a superior experience to passengers.”
In my opinion Toronto, New York (JFK) and London would be the most likely routes for Cathay’s 777-9X. Each route receives several 777-300ER passenger flights a day, as well as the 747F which operates to these cities throughout the week.
With the 777-9X offering high seat capacity and range capability, it will be interesting to see what routes the aircraft will fly. Also, it’s exciting to hear that Cathay will be putting an upgraded first class product onboard.
What route do you think the 777-9X will fly for Cathay? Let us know in the comments!