Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777X order may be cancelled

Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777X order may be cancelled

According to Hong Kong media reports, Cathay Pacific will cancel its long-standing Boeing 777X order. Cathay Pacific has placed a Boeing 777-9X order for 21 aircraft. However, as the carrier continues to fail, orders are expected to be cut in half.

Danny Lee of The South China Morning Post reported on Sunday, April 25, that the 777X order would be reduced to between 10 and 15 flights, citing two airline sources. This will save billions of dollars on the sales price.

Cathay Pacific had announced delivery delays, but there was no news about whether or not the order would be cut

The 777-9Xs were supposed to arrive at Cathay Pacific later this year. However, due to well-publicized issues with the Boeing 777X, delivery schedules have been pushed back. Chairman Patrick Healy said in early March, when announcing Cathay Pacific’s 2020 Annual Results, that the airline was in “advanced talks” for further deferring delivery timelines.

Mr Healy did not mention, however, that Cathay Pacific was considering cancelling the 777X order. The order was placed during a more prosperous period at Cathay Pacific. With an order for 21 7777-9X aircraft placed in December 2013, Cathay Pacific became Asia’s first 777X customer.

“We believe it would be an excellent match for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe,” said John Slosar, then-CEO of Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777X

The 777X is a decent plane for North American and European flights, according to Cathay Pacific. Photo: Cathay Pacific

The 777X ticked a tonne of boxes at Cathay Pacific seven years ago

Cathay Pacific’s order was valued at more than $7 billion, according to Boeing’s list prices. Boeing got a good boost from that. The 777X software had only been in development for twelve months before Boeing launched it. With Cathay Pacific’s order, Boeing now has 259 777X planes on order worth $95 billion. In 2013, Boeing was also planning to launch the first 777X aircraft in 2020.

Cathay Pacific liked the 777X’s reduced environmental emissions, increased payload range capability, and lower operating costs in addition to modernising its fleet.

Mr Slosar said, “We believe it will be an ideal fit for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe, especially those routes where we carry high volumes of passengers and cargo every day.”

That was more than a decade ago. Boeing, Cathay Pacific, and the airline industry as a whole have faced tremendous obstacles since then. The 777X program’s issues and delays are just one example of a slew of production and quality issues that Boeing is dealing with across the board. Boeing, on the other hand, has been performing 777X test flights since early 2020.

Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777X

Cathay Pacific also has a sizable 777 aircraft fleet. Photo: Cathay Pacific

Boeing’s 777X programme had lost its lustre

The 777X program’s lustre has faded as a result of the delays, and many airline passengers have lost interest. New orders began to decline after the initial rush. In the face of delivery risks and an adverse operating climate, several airlines, including Cathay Pacific, are looking to reduce their 777X orders.

Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, recently told that he was unsure when the first 777Xs would arrive. With 115 Boeing 777X planes on order, the Dubai-based airline is currently the largest Boeing 777X customer. Emirates originally ordered 150 aircraft, but that number has since been reduced. Tim Clark is dissatisfied with the delays and believes the order will be reduced further.

The order book for Boeing’s 777X has shrunk to fewer than 200 aircraft. Cathay Pacific, on the other hand, has its own set of problems. Cathay Pacific recently recorded a $2.8 billion loss for the calendar year 2020, and the airline’s short-term prospects are bleak. The airline will gain some much-needed financial breathing room by reducing the 777X order size and deferring delivery of the remaining planes. Cathay Pacific is planning to take delivery of the first Boeing 777-9X in 2025.

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Cover Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific