Cathay Pacific has confirmed plans to move to a ten-across economy seating layout on its B777 fleet.

As previously reported by Business Traveller, the carrier had been considering switching from a 3-3-3 to a 3-4-3 configuration, in line with carriers including Qatar Airways, Eva Air, United and British Airways (on its Gatwick-based B777s).

This move has now been confirmed, with Cathay saying that “The airline will be aligning the practice of many notable premium carriers by adopting the industry standard of a 3-4-3 seating configuration in the Economy Class cabins of its 48 Boeing 777-300ER long-haul aircraft and 17 Boeing 777-300 regional aircraft”.

The changes will be made between mid-2018 and 2020, with a new “ergonomically-designed seat” offering a width of 17.2 inches (which Cathay says is “comparable to other premium airlines”), recline of six inches, and a pitch of 32 inches.

The carrier’s B777-300ERs will also see the size of the IFE screen in economy increased from nine to 12 inches, with a “much higher screen resolution”.

Cathay says that “Having had the benefit of time to assess other airlines’ experience, in addition to understanding and evaluating customer sentiment, Cathay Pacific will also be enhancing the products and services it provides in the cabin”.

Highlighted features include:

  • the IFE box being housed within the seat structure “to allow passengers generous legroom”
  • seats which will be thinner but which will offer “thick and highly customised cushioning that has been extensively tested to ensure comfort”
  • a new leather headrest
  • an armrest which “lies flush to the seat and therefore does not encroach into the passenger’s seat space”, which Cathay says “also allows passengers more shoulder space”
  • A Personal Electronic Device (PED) holder to allow passengers to use their own mobile devices onboard, as well as faster device charging capabilities
  • A cup holder integrated into the PED holder, “meaning passengers can enjoy beverages while working or watching entertainment without deploying their tray tables”

The carrier also said that “wifi connectivity onboard the 777 fleet, across all classes, is being considered”.

Cathay stressed that “The decision to adopt this [ten-across] industry standard has involved extensive research and customer testing to ensure that the new product not only meets the expectations of customers, but exceeds them”.

The carrier also said that the move “will in part help enable the airline to deliver on its goal of growing capacity by 4-5 per cent per annum when the capacity of Hong Kong International Airport is constrained”.