Recent reports tell that Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific could be swapping 777X orders for the 787-10 Dreamliner. The story comes as Cathay Pacific continues to suffer from low passenger traffic, which may remain for quite some time, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cathay Pacific was one of the first airlines to place its orders for the 777X. The airline has an order for 21 of the 777x-9. While the opening of 777Xs was initially due to be delivered this summer, the program faced delays because of its first test flight in January.
Additionally, the aviation industry as a whole is currently facing its greatest crisis as traffic around the globe has declined. Many airlines are presently planning for demand to take years to recover. Cathay Pacific was already feeling a hit from the Hong Kong protests before the current COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to the South China Morning Post editor Danny Lee, unnamed people familiar with the matter have said that Cathay Pacific is considering updating its 777X order. He also mentioned that options studied include delivery delays, in addition to swapping 777Xs to the Boeing 787-10.
A tough year for Cathay
It has been a tough year for Cathay Pacific. Initially, the carrier suffered from a domestic drop in demand due to a series of riots in the city of Hong kong. The protests dissuaded passengers from travelling to Hong Kong. While this only affected one or two routes for most carriers, Cathay Pacific felt it on most of its courses.
However, just when it looked like things may be beginning to improve, the world of aviation was dealt another blow in the form of the current crisis. As such, it would be understandable if the carrier wished to defer or reduce its financial commitments with regards to new aircraft.
Boeing 787-10 vs 777-9
There are several humongous differences between the 777x-9 and the 787-10. Arguably the most important one is that the 787-10 is already flying daily. Additionally, the 787-10 has a newer design, while the 777x-9 based on the company’s older versions 777s.
According to Boeing, the 777x-9 can seat 426 passengers in a two-cabin configuration, which is economy and business. Meanwhile, the 787-10 carries 336 in a similar arrangement.
Finally, the SCMP(South China Morning Post) points out that there is also a considerable difference in cost between the two aircraft. While a single 777x-9 has a current list price of $442.2 million, the 787-10 costs just three-quarters of this at $338.4 million, which can be very beneficial for the airline.