Cathay Pacific will take delivery of its first Airbus A350 model on May 27, with the advanced jet arriving into Hong Kong Airport on May 29.
The A350s will sport new-look seats fitted from tip to tail, starting with 38 business class seats based on the airline’s current highly-regarded business class (shown below) and in the same 1-2-1 layout – but with an updated design which CX is carefully positioning as a ‘refresh’ to improve the existing seat, based on extensive passenger surveys and in-person workshops.
Travellers can expect to see improvements in storage space, the ability to slide the meal table forward and back, and a degree of tilt for the large HD video screen.
The refreshed business class seat has been widely blamed for delays to the A350’s delivery, which was originally slated for March, with claims that seat supplier Zodiac fell far behind the schedule set by Airbus and Cathay Pacific.
There’s also a compact premium economy cabin of 28 seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement and an all-new design, followed by 214 new economy seats ranked in a 3-3-3 grid.
The Airbus A350 will also be fitted with inflight Internet, which is a first for Cathay Pacific’s international fleet and an overdue catch-up to competitors such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad.
Cathay Pacific will showcase the A350 to members of the media on Monday May 30, with the aircraft’s first commercial flight as CX907 to Manila on June 1.
it will then run a daily basis to Manila and Taipei until the second aircraft arrives in July, when fights will also commence to Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Kansai.
Cathay Pacific will swing the fuel-efficient jet onto longer-range international routes to Europe from September, beginning with Dusseldorf and London.
A350 flights between Hong Kong and Auckland will commence in the second half of the year.
Other likely starters for the A350’s route map include Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Milan and Zurich.
11 more A350-900s are due to be delivered this year, and another ten in 2017, to be followed by 26 of the larger and longer-range A350-1000s from 2018.
The A350-1000 fleet will feature an updated business class along with all-new premium economy and economy seats, although Cathay Pacific hasdecided against installing first class on the Airbus A350-1000, opting instead for a larger premium cabin featuring its new international business class seats.
Australian Business Traveller will travel to Hong Kong for the May 30 launch of the Airbus A350 as a guest of Cathay Pacific.
Source : Australian Business Traveller