Cathay Pacific recently teased its new “Aria Suites” business class, which will be introduced on Boeing 777-300ERs as of the second quarter of 2024. One thing I was curious about is if the airline also planned on introducing a new first class on these aircraft, and we now have our answer…
New Cathay Pacific first class coming to 777-9, not 777-300ER
We’ve known for years that Cathay Pacific plans to introduce new first and business class products on its Boeing 777-9s. The airline has 21 of these aircraft on order, and they’re expected to become the carrier’s flagship aircraft. Initially the aircraft was supposed to enter service as of 2020, though due to certification issues, the plane is now slated to be delivered in 2025 at the earliest.
Many airlines were planning on introducing new “flagship” products on their 777-9s, though the five year delay has obviously not been ideal for that, and has caused many airlines to fall behind with their premium products. I would imagine that Cathay Pacific was planning on debuting its new business class on 777-9s, but now decided to install it on 777-300ERS.
What about first class, though? As noted by Danny Lee, Cathay Pacific has confirmed that it plans to introduce a new first class product as of 2025 on 777-9s. This suggests that Cathay Pacific doesn’t have plans to introduce a new first class on 777-300ERs, at least not any time prior to that.
My biggest concern here is that it’s anyone’s guess when the 777-9 actually enters service for Cathay Pacific. At this point, the aircraft will enter commercial service in 2025 at the absolute earliest, and Cathay Pacific isn’t even the launch customer. So it could very well be 2026 or 2027 before we see the first Cathay Pacific 777-9.
My take on Cathay Pacific’s premium product evolution
It’s always interesting when airlines decide to introduce a new business class, but not a new first class. While details remain limited about Cathay Pacific’s new business class, it’s clear that the product will have a door, and excellent tech, including wireless charging, bluetooth audio, etc.
It’s interesting that Cathay Pacific presumably won’t have that same tech in first class. While that’s somewhat disappointing, I imagine the airline will have no issues continuing to sell people on first class. Cathay Pacific’s first class is an excellent, spacious product. While this isn’t the world’s most private first class, it is one of my favorites. On top of that, the soft product is very good.
We don’t yet know what Cathay Pacific’s new 777-9 first class will look like, but I have very high expectations. Cathay Pacific is an incredibly detail-oriented airline, and the airline has been working on this new product for well over five years now.
This is purely speculation on my part, but I suspect the new first class will maintain a 1-1-1 layout, and will be at least as nice as the new Emirates 777 first class, if not nicer.
Cathay Pacific plans to introduce a new first class product, though only on the 777-9, and not on the 777-300ER. This revelation follows Cathay Pacific teasing a new business class product, which will debut on 777-300ERs as of 2024.
I’m not surprised that Cathay Pacific won’t introduce a new first class on 777-300ERs, though I can’t wait to learn the details of the 777-9 product!
What do you make of Cathay Pacific’s first class decision?