First look: Cathay unveils regional business class product

24 Sep 2012

Cathay Pacific (CX) has today unveiled the new business class seat which will be progressively installed on all its regional flights from January next year until the end of 2014.

John Slosar, the airline’s chief executive said that having revamped its long-haul cabins CX was now moving on to look at its regional services. 

The new seat has taken two years to develop, a process that involved inviting around 150 of the airline's Marco Polo Club members to give input on design. Slosar said they aimed to create “a product which makes sense, that is comfortable, and where the little things have been thought of.”

The seats, arranged in forward-facing pairs, are roomier with the width increased from 20 inches (50.8 cm) to 21 inches (53.34 cm). Seat pitch has been increased from 45 inches (114.3 cm) to 47 inches (119.3 cm), with your feet stretching into a hollow beneath the seat in front. Each seat is encased in a shell which prevents the passenger before you encroaching on your space.

“It is a big step up in terms of comfort and privacy,” said Toby Smith, the airline’s general manager of products. 

Reclining the new seat is done electronically by buttons on the inward side of the middle armrest, on the rim of the cocktail table. It has a greater seat recline at 36 inches (91.4 cm), instead of between 32 inches and 35 inches (81.2 cm and 88.9 cm) with the previous model, and the leg rest can lift up to 60 inches (152 cm) instead of 38 inches to 55 inches (96.5 cm to 139.7 cm). 

This allows it to move into what the airline describe as a “lazy-Z” position, which cradles the passenger. The new headrest is also more adjustable. 


The table has been enlarged, measuring 14.5 inches (36.8 cm) inches deep in comparison to the former 11 inches (27.9 cm). The small cocktail table on the central armrest can be extended forward for more surface space. The aisle-side armrest can now be lifted up so that you can leave the seat at ease even when the tray table is being used.

All the business class seats will now have a power socket located just below knee height on the front of the central armrest. There is also a multi-port connector for iPhone, iPod and iPad, with which you can stream your gadget's content to the seat-back TV, as well as a USB port.

The seat has added storage space. There is a cubbyhole under the cocktail table large enough to store a laptop computer, and a small hollow beside the IFE screen for keeping a mobile phone. There is also now room in the hollowed out footrest to store a small bag.

A new audio and video on demand IFE system has replaced the old broadcast system and has a screen that can be tilted to different angles. It can be controlled by either the touchscreen or using a remote that is stowed in the armrest beneath a cover. 

The new business class product will be installed on all of CX’s 29 regional aircraft (Boeing 777s and A330-300s), starting with those serving major business destinations such as Haneda, Narita, Singapore, Osaka and Jakarta.

The first Boeing 777 fitted with the new seat is due to enter service in January 2013, while the first A330-300 will be completed in forth quarter of this year. All CX's regional aircraft are to feature the new product by the end of 2014. 

Sister airline Dragonair, which serves China and various other Asian destinations, will also be fitted with the product at a later stage. 

The new seats will mean two to three fewer seats in each aircraft's business class cabin. 

For more information, visit

Nicholas Olczak

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