Cathay Pacific will launch its new business class seat in February 2016 on board its flagship Airbus A350 fleet, with a mid-life refresh for the current Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 business class to follow.
The seat will come from Zodiac Aerospace and belong to the same Cirrus family as Cathay's existing business class, although CX product exec Toby Smith describes the platform to Australian Business Traveller as "an enhanced Cirrus."
Smith confirmed that the seat's design will be carried out by Germany's Porsche Design Group, which was "engaged for their industrial design expertise".
It's believed that Cathay's A350 will have 38 seats in business class, 28 in premium economy and 214 in economy.
Smith also reveals that the A350 will feature a "different and improved" premium economy seat compared to today's first-gen seat (below), although he refused to be drawn on specifics.
Little more is known about the new business class seat, except that it won't be radically different to the airline's current design.
"It will will be very much an evolution of our current seat rather than a brand new seat" Smith confirms.
"That seat has been very popular with passengers and we saw no reason to re-invent it."
"But we’ve listened very closely to areas that people said could be improved, and we’ve focussed on this. So while it should be very familiar to our passengers when it comes out, we hope to have some new touches that they will appreciate” Smith says.
The new seats carry an internal codename of ‘FB2+’, denoting them as an incremental step beyond the airline’s current second generation of flatbed business class.
Mid-life refresh for current business class
After the new seat debuts on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350s the airline will turn its attention to a revamp of its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 business class seats.
"We do mid-life refreshes of our products, typically six to seven years after the product is introduced," Smith tells Australian Business Traveller, "and when the time comes to refresh the current product we'll be looking to fold back some of those improvements into the existing fleet."
Given that today's CX business class was launched in early 2011, Smith's suggested timeline hints at a mid-life make-over in 2017 or 2018.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.