Boeing, Cathay Pacific’s New First Class Would Be Launching This Year
Emirates the largest airline currently has a total of 126 Boeing 777Xs on order which include 101 Boeing 777-9s and 25 Boeing 777-8s. If not for the wide-reaching COVID-19 pandemic and a raft of delays from Boeing, Cathay Pacific’s new First class would be launching this year. After all, the order for all 21 Boeing 777-9s was first signed back in 2013, with deliveries slated to roll out between this year and 2024. However, Cathay confirmed late last year that the arrival of their new flagship fleet has been postponed until “beyond 2025”.
The Boeing 777-9 was always intended to become Cathay's new flagship and serve as the launchpad for new first and business class products – and in 2014, a year after placing its order with Boeing, the Hong Kong carrier began exploring fresh first class concepts.
European agency Yellow Window was among the firms shortlisted, and its work provides a tantalizing take on the evolution of Cathay's first class.
The Boeing 777-9s were meant to be signified by the reveal of the new First Class cabins, replacing the current design, which initially debuted for the carrier in 2007. And these changes should also be extended to Cathay Pacific’s current fleet of Boeing 777-300ER, retrofitted to replace the existing First Class cabins.
Two design concepts have been shortlisted from Yellow Window, with both reportedly inspired by the “subtle quest for balance and harmony” that’s so central to various Asian cultures.
The first, an elongated suite design that sticks closely to the door-less approach of the current high-end cabins. According to Yellow Window, the cabin design was inspired by the idea of ‘metamorphosis’ with several different configurations proposed for different points throughout the journey. The flexible design means that the set-up can just as easily act as a lounge as it can an office, dining room, or bedroom.
Other notable design flourishes will include LED lighting features alongside the shelving attached to the fold-out dining table, as well as a smartphone holder that doubles as a charger, and a recessed drink holder. A window shade can be dropped from the ceiling to segment the suite amongst the 1-1-1-cabin layout, which should be an easy fix for those who want privacy despite the relentlessly open design.
Yellow Window’s second proposal would be used to create two extra-large First Class suites in the aircraft’s cross-section, defined by a separate bed and seat. These would be paired to allow a total of four First Class berths on the aircraft, with enough space for features like a substantial armrest, a large flat-screen video panel, and curved panels around each suite for a high degree of privacy without having to use sliding panels or doors.
As for what Cathay Pacific's actual Boeing 777-9 first class suites will look like, we'll probably have to wait several years to find out.