New Cathay Pacific “Halo Suites” First Class Coming To Boeing 777-9s

New Cathay Pacific “Halo Suites” First Class Coming To Boeing 777-9s

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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. While we know Cathay Pacific is introducing a new first class product, it’ll take some time before we see that in service.

Well, a longtime OMAAT reader came across something very interesting, which gives us a good sense of what we can expect from Cathay Pacific’s new first class, including what it will almost certainly be named.

New Cathay Pacific first class coming to 777-9 in 2025+

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.

While Cathay Pacific has moved forward with introducing its new business class, the airline only plans to introduce a new first class as of 2025, on Boeing 777-9s. Understandably, one major concern here is when 777-9s will actually enter 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.

Cathay Pacific’s new first class could be called “Halo Suites”

This is where it gets interesting, as I don’t think this has been discussed anywhere before. Cathay Pacific has recently applied for a trademark for “The Aria Suites,” which is the carrier’s new business class.

The airline has also applied for a trademark for “The Halo Suites,” and this is specifically intended to cover “luxury and first class air transportation services.”

Cathay Pacific “The Halo Suites” trademark application

For what it’s worth, the two parents were filed just a few weeks apart. While we can’t say anything with certainty, I’d be willing to bet just about anything that this will in fact be the name of Cathay Pacific’s new first class product.

Cathay Pacific’s possible new first class product

We know that Cathay Pacific has been working on developing its new first class product for many years (it was supposed to be ready in 2020, based on the initial Boeing 777-9 delivery timeline). And we also know that Cathay Pacific is planning something truly spectacular. However, there hasn’t been any official indication as to what we can expect.

Well, back in 2019, Cathay Pacific applied for a patent for a new first class product, and… wow! Let me emphasize that I can’t guarantee this will be Cathay Pacific’s new first class, though I think it’s highly likely. I’d highly recommend reading the whole application, as it actually contains a couple of different concepts.

Below is the diagram that’s displayed, and if I’m understanding this correctly, the plan is that figures five through eight reflect what Cathay Pacific is hoping to offer.

Cathay Pacific’s potential new first class product

A few things that stand out the most:

  • Cathay Pacific is focused on having a single aisle in first class, noting that this would allow first class suites to be wider
  • Cathay Pacific plans to have four first class seats on its Boeing 777-9s
  • Cathay Pacific wants to create a double suite, whereby a pair of seats can be converted into a shared space
  • Cathay Pacific even proposes having a ladder leading to a bunk bed, so that a module could be used for a family to travel together in a first class suite; this would just be an additional sleeping space, and not part of the standard offering for passenger
  • As you can see in figure eight, the intent is that a double suite could feature a private bathroom on the right side of the aircraft, simply by moving partitions around

This appears to be based on Paperclip Design’s Peacock Suites concept. The below pictures should give you a sense of just how spectacular this product might be (though I’d expect Cathay Pacific to have a customized version of this, so don’t expect it to be exactly like this).

Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept
Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept
Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept
Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept
Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept
Butterfly’s Peacock Suites concept

This product looks absolutely wild, and I’m in disbelief that we could see anything like this introduced. It almost looks more like The Etihad Residence than a standard first class product. Heck, it almost looks more like what you’d expect on a private jet. Suffice it to say that this probably wouldn’t be great for Cathay Pacific first class award availability

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.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER first class seat
Cathay Pacific has excellent first class service

Suffice it to say that Cathay Pacific’s new Boeing 777-9 first class looks astonishingly good. I still can’t fully picture it, but it seems like it’ll really set the bar for first class.

One thing I can’t help but wonder is if Cathay Pacific might just remove first class from its Boeing 777-300ERs when it introduces the new business class. Cathay Pacific currently has around 20 Boeing 777s with first class, and that’s similar to the number of Boeing 777-9s on order.

I wonder if Cathay Pacific might first install its new business class on Boeing 777s without first class, and then install it on those with first class, while removing the cabin. There are only so many markets where Cathay Pacific sees first class demand, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the airline do this, at least eventually. I certainly could be wrong, though.

Bottom line

Cathay Pacific plans to introduce a new first class product, though only on the 777-9, and not on the 777-300ER. You can expect this product to be introduced as of 2025 at the earliest.

Based on some filings, it would appear that Cathay Pacific will name its new first class “The Halo Suites,” and some diagrams suggest that this will be an unbelievably good product.

What do you make of what we know about Cathay Pacific’s new first class?

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  1. Victor Guest

    Currently, Cathay Pacific First Class has 3 seats in a row. They will become narrower, if you put 4 seat in the same place!

  2. Wing Wong Guest

    I always regard news like these are just visions for promotion, l rather focus more on what would be offered to us ,fir now or near end of 2023.
    Promotion like these are futile for frequent travelers for the present to end of 2023!

  3. Steven Guest

    Lucky, just a typo! You spelled "patents" as "parents" earlier in the article :)

  4. Yang Jin-Hong Guest

    Surprised the seat is not colored red with yellow stars

  5. Pudu Guest

    I recall seeing this concept when it was first unveiled and thought it was pure pie in the sky stuff but that patent application is VERY interesting.

    1. Gregg Guest

      A patent costs pennies.

  6. JK Guest

    And Al Bakar says first class is dead...

    1. Mangiafiga Guest

      He's just an overpaid clown. Wouldn't be surprised if he isn't even actually in charge at this point.

    2. John Guest

      @Mangiafiga

      He's presided over a growing network and a profit of $1.2 Billion. How about you?

    3. Antonio Guest

      John , if you were more proficient in foreign languages you wpuld know your digital friend is a jerk hehehe. I won't give further details...

    4. Gregg Guest

      Ummm he's a genius and tbe Vanguard of the industry.

  7. RF Diamond

    With all the hype CX better deliver something spectacular. This concept does look really great.

  8. LEo Diamond

    Why would one want to sleep in bunks in first?

    1. JJ Guest

      It’s pretty compelling for a couple traveling with a child. The main bed is big enough for two, and the kid can go above. Not terribly different than a train cabin.

  9. Super Diamond

    I'm fascinated by the economics behind this. Like Lucky stated, he (and quite a few others) are perfectly happy with the current F product. So what would drive the need for such a massive strategy change? Also... can't help but imagine that this would be completely off-limits to the miles & points world.

    1. JK Guest

      I would imagine only the most elite frequent flyers might have a chance of using points for this, but most of them would book this with cash / corporate account anyway. I'd expect CX to restrict this cabin much the way Air France is protective of La Premiere. I'm truly amazed if this is true. Here come the $40,000 USD r/t fares to LHR/CDG!

  10. Mike O. Guest

    One scenario I see would be the Aria Suites installed on the 300ERs while the current First Class is kept as is. Once the 779s start coming in, either the 300ER with First Class gets reconfigured with Aria Suites, or they just retire them. At the moment, there are currently 21 a/c with First Class, and there are 21 779s on order. There's still a need for an a/c that's high density especially for those regional runs in between long-haul flights

    1. CXTraveller Member

      Before Covid and 777X delays, I thought CX was planning to have the 777-9 to replace the 4-class 777-300ER, and then reconfigure these 777-300ER to regional layout to replace the older 777-300. We will see if that's still going to happen. Those 777-300 really need to be replaced - remember CX is the launch customer.

  11. SamB Diamond

    Very cool product, F keeps moving closer to private jet-like comfort.

    I did LOL tho at the open bookshelf in the rendering, the books could easily fly off with a sudden altitude change.

    1. JK Guest

      And they are rather substantial Monocle hardcover books at that, I have several of them and they could do a bit of damage if flung about a cabin.

  12. Lara S. Guest

    Lucky- nice idea and hopefully it will be in relaxing colors. I just noticed (if I did the math right) you are about 12,000 miles away from a big milestone. Any plans for that trip?

    1. TMT Guest

      My initial reaction to the photos was that they'd got Ilse Crawford / Studio Ilse to design the seats. At first glance it does have a similarity to the new generation Cathay lounges, and would be very on-brand if the look and feel are the same.

  13. Kor Guest

    A bit off topic, but how is Boeing able to even survive with such a huge delay in aircraft deliverymvSeems this undustry is really special. In any other business such a delay would bring company to its knees.

    1. Scudder Diamond

      Because with only two companies making large aircraft, airlines don't have much choice but to suck it up.

    2. coldbrew Guest

      At least for the 2 or those years (and probably 3 for CX) airlines are likely actually happy with the delay so they don't have to add those unwanted capacity and payments during the pandemic. Quite a few might have push back the delivery anyway even if they are ready in 2020/21.

  14. Dan Guest

    The Design Air shared a similar design a few years back - it was just a prototype back then I believe.

    https://thedesignair.net/2021/04/01/paperclip-designs-peacock-concept-could-ruffle-some-feathers/

  15. shoeguy Guest

    Am a fan of CX and have found that while their branding and cabin interiors + uniforms are all vintage 1990s and really do need a refresh as they give off the appearance of everything being old, it is nice to see them refresh and focus on a new premium product. I do wonder though if CX's best days are behind it. HKG isn't the hub of commerce and finance and tourism that it was...

    Am a fan of CX and have found that while their branding and cabin interiors + uniforms are all vintage 1990s and really do need a refresh as they give off the appearance of everything being old, it is nice to see them refresh and focus on a new premium product. I do wonder though if CX's best days are behind it. HKG isn't the hub of commerce and finance and tourism that it was up to 2018 and likely will not see a substantive return to those glory days. Time will tell, I suppose.

    1. Scudder Diamond

      Tell us you didn't fly in the 90s without telling us you didn't fly in the 90s.

    2. Mike O. Guest

      I've actually been thinking about this thoroughly, but in my opinion CX's best days were from the 90s which was the "lettuce sandwich" colour scheme transitioning to the first iteration of the "brushwing" up to the mid 00's when they were flying the A343 and A346 to JFK. They were still great in the latter part of the decade, but when the '10s came, that's things started to go south for them especially when players...

      I've actually been thinking about this thoroughly, but in my opinion CX's best days were from the 90s which was the "lettuce sandwich" colour scheme transitioning to the first iteration of the "brushwing" up to the mid 00's when they were flying the A343 and A346 to JFK. They were still great in the latter part of the decade, but when the '10s came, that's things started to go south for them especially when players like QR started to be competitive.

      Passengers were really talking about how wonderful their flights were, but now all you hear is CX is not what it used to be from years past.

    3. JK Guest

      With the economy in China looking very shaky at the moment it will be interesting to see what corporate HK looks like in 2 years' time. It's also worth noting that CX aren't putting an F cabin on flights to JFK. I would have thought there would be significant demand for F between 2 major finance centers but it seems the demand isn't there right now.

  16. AnishReddi Gold

    Imagine the disappointment if we just a standard run of the mill first class or even something like EK's game changer suite after seeing this. Also the whole suite looks quite heavy.

  17. Morgan Diamond

    So in figure 8 that is showing 4 first class suites not 2?

    1. AnishReddi Gold

      Yes , 4 suites where 2 can be connected at a time. I wonder what evacuating providers look like and with the curved aisle, and how they get FAA approval for it.

    2. Mangiafiga Guest

      Not just FAA but all the other countries they fly to.

    3. Gregg Guest

      Is the FAA on record saying that don't like curved aisles?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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JK Guest

And they are rather substantial Monocle hardcover books at that, I have several of them and they could do a bit of damage if flung about a cabin.

1
JJ Guest

It’s pretty compelling for a couple traveling with a child. The main bed is big enough for two, and the kid can go above. Not terribly different than a train cabin.

1
Scudder Diamond

Because with only two companies making large aircraft, airlines don't have much choice but to suck it up.

1
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