MIAMI — On Friday morning, CPAS, Cathay Pacific Aircraft Services Limited, announced that they have officially ordered 21 Boeing 777-9X aircraft. The 777-X, which launched earlier this year at the Dubai Air Show, is the next generation followup to the hugely successful Boeing 777 program. Deliveries are set to begin in 2021 and wrap up in 2024.
With the order, Cathay Pacific looks to “replenish and expand” their longhaul fleet, which is mainly comprised of the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330, as the Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300 are being phased out. CPAS notes that the 777-9X will primarily serve destinations in Europe and North America.
“The 777-9X promises us improved payload range capability and reduced operating costs, in addition to a significant reduction in environmental emissions,” said Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar. “The huge investment we are making in new aircraft underscores our confidence in the future of the Cathay Pacific Group as well as our commitment to maintaining Hong Kong’s position as one of the world’s great aviation hubs,” said Slosar.
The deal, worth $7.46 billion US at list prices, comes with “significant price concession[s]” said CPAS in a press release announcing the sale. “Such price concessions were determined after arm’s length negotiations between the parties,” said CPAS. Such price reductions are common in aircraft orders.
Cathay Pacific also has the 777-X’s rival on order, the Airbus A350. Cathay has slated the Airbus A350-900 to replace their Airbus A340-300 fleet, while the larger A350-1000 will replace aging Boeing 777-300’s.
The biggest question about the Boeing 777-X program right now, however, isn’t about who will potentially order the craft, but where it will be produced. Last month, talks between Boeing and the Seattle-based chapter of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers broke down. This has led Boeing to search for a new site to build the 777-X, but apparently has not stopped potential buyers from committing to the aircraft.
With this 777-X order from Cathay Pacific, it is also just one more nail in the coffin of the struggling 747-8 program. The latest generation of the 747 has struggled to gain even modest orders, seeing only five orders from Korean Air earlier this year. Cathay Pacific does operate the 747-8 freighter, but now any speculation that they might order the passenger version should be squashed.