Cathay Pacific Airways’ first Airbus A350-900XWB aircraft arrived at Hong Kong International Airport from Toulouse, France on Sunday, 29 May. It is the first of 48 A350s scheduled to be delivered to the airline. The new aircraft features Cathay Pacific’s latest inflight products in the Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class cabins, enriching the experience of passengers and helping the airline to deliver on its promise of a Life Well Travelled.
Cathay Pacific have been working hard in the past two years, aligning two brands, opening world-leading impressive lounges across the network, and introducing the new brand direction with simpler websites and airport signage. It is all about considered simplicity – removing the clutter and focusing on the elements that really matter to the passenger experience.
The airline held a special event in the hangars of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) at Hong Kong International Airport on the 30th of May to give an exclusive preview of the new arrival to aviation and trade officials, key business partners, members of the Marco Polo Club loyalty programme and guests from the Hong Kong public.
Guest of Honour at the event was Joseph Lai, Permanent Secretary for Transport & Housing (Transport), who officiated at the welcome ceremony together with Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rupert Hogg.
“We understand that for our passengers, sleeping well, enjoying first-class entertainment, and using products that have been designed with them in mind are of the utmost importance. The new A350 will provide the very best of all these,” Mr Hogg said. “The lower cabin pressure and noise levels combine with our new features to set passengers up for the best sleeping experience possible in the skies. We have gone all out to provide the best inflight entertainment too.
All seats come with the latest high-definition touchscreen personal TVs and a greater selection of movies, TV, live news channels and music. Inflight Wi-Fi is also available to connect passengers to family, work and world events, if they choose. We could not be more excited with what we’ve seen so far of the A350, and I’m sure that our passengers will feel the same way once they step on board.
“This superbly efficient aircraft will help us further expand our global network and strengthen Hong Kong’s reputation as an international aviation hub, helping to oil the wheels of commerce and trade in our home city,” Mr Hogg added.
Each of the cabins features brand new products. In Business Class the seat has been refined with new enhancements, in premium economy there are brand new seats, and Economy Class features larger screens, and more intelligent storage to increase passenger space and comfort.
There is no First Class cabin on the A350 on Cathay Pacific, however, the Business Class section has had a complete refresh. The Business Class has a complete finish and trim mirrors, normally the same as you would expect on a corporate private jet. The existing seats have been completely reworked to offer enhanced automotive lines, new finishes that are calmer, and reduce the heavier forest green found in the current cabin.
Everything feels cleaner, from the seat controls to the seat cushion. The biggest and most noticeable differences are the new IFE screen, which is much larger and has a more intuitive and simpler interface, the bed extender, which no longer flips up from the seat, but instead from the armrest – which makes it stronger, and more practical – and also a new tray table which isn’t fixed in one position unlike its predecessor.
In the Premium Economy cabin, passengers will enjoy brand new B/E Aerospace MiQ seats, which will offer enhanced passenger comfort compared to the previous generation Premium Economy seats. The biggest improvement that has been introduced to the new seats includes leg rests for each passenger and enhanced an IFE screen size. Responding to passenger’s needs, Airbus have made the Airbus A350 first aircraft for Cathay that offers Wi-Fi for passengers (at a fee).
The seats also offer push down arm rests on the aisle, which allow for passengers requiring assistance to be seated easily, as well as offering increased space for passengers who want a bit more room. The Premium Economy cabin seat configuration is a 2 x 4 x 2 arrangement, matching the current Boeing 777 layout.
To revamp its Economy Class cabin, Tangerine, a London based company, were brought in to re-imagine the seats, inspired by glass skyscrapers and bamboo. The finishes, like the other cabins, are inspired by Asian minimalist tradition. Bulkheads feature an embossed irregular-striped pattern that is evocative of bamboo, contrasting with the natural textured finishes that are incorporated throughout the interior across all classes. Green is an essential colour palette for Cathay Pacific’s brand and three shades of green, blended with natural tones, were used.
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
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B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
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