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December 23, 2013
 

Cathay Pacific Becomes First Asian Airline to order 777X

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Written by: Adam Sheinhaus
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Image courtesy Boeing.

Boeing has scored big again, once again scoring a major order for their new 777X line. On Friday, Boeing and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific announced an order for 21 aircraft of the 777-9X variant. With this order, Cathay Pacific becomes the first Asian carrier to place an order for the 777X. The agreement is said to be worth more than $7 billion at list prices. Cathay has been a longtime Boeing customer. Currently, they operate 55 777s, split between the -200, -300, and -300ER variants. They also have an additional 39 777-300ERs currently on order. The airline also operates a variety of 747 models and was one of the first customers for the 747-8F. Cathay has said that the new 777s will operate to high-density markets in Europe and North America. That may include include cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and London. In addition to the new 777s, Cathay has also ordered 48 Airbus A350s, signaling a rapid fleet renewal of an already young fleet. The average age of the aircraft currently in Cathay Pacific’s fleet is just 9.7 years.

Image courtesy Boeing.

Image courtesy Boeing.

The 777X program was unveiled at the Dubai Airshow in November. At its launch, it had 259 orders and commitments worth about $95 billion at list prices. Those orders were from German carrier Lufthansa and Middle Eastern carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad. With Cathay Pacific’s order, the order book currently sits at 280 aircraft and is valued at more than $100 billion USD at list prices.

Boeing says the jet will be the “largest and most efficient twin-engine commercial jet”. To achieve that, the manufacturer is planning to incorporate an all-new carbon fiber composite wing with folding wingtips. Those folding wingtips will enable the aircraft to have longer, more efficient wings, while still maintaining the current generation 777’s footprint while on the ground. Additional efficiency improvements will come in the form of new powerplants from General Electric. Their new GE9X engines will have efficiency improvements on the current generation’s GE90 engines. Those improvements will be derived from the smaller GEnX engine used in the 787 Dreamliner. In addition to these efficiency improvements, capacity and range will be increased as well. A stretch of the fuselage will allow for approximately 20 additional seats over the 777-300ER as well as room for four additional cargo containers. The aircraft’s maximum range is also expected to see a boost of roughly 300 nautical miles. Deliveries of the new type are expected to begin in 2020.

 

Adam Sheinhaus is a student in Charlotte, NC. Originally from White Plains, NY, he has loved aviation since age 3. Often, you can find him working towards his private pilot license or taking pictures at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. His photography can be viewed at http://asheinhaus.smugmug.com

 



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