Cathay Pacific (CX) has reportedly finalised the seating configuration of its A350 XWB aircraft, which it will take delivery of in February next year.
According to The New Zealand Herald, Auckland is set to be one of the first destinations that CX deploys its new aircraft too. This makes sense as the Hong Kong–Auckland route is currently being served by the ageing A340, which is due to be progressively retired as the airline takes delivery of newer airplanes.
"That is subject to change for any number of reasons, but I think it's fair to say with the A340 currently on the [New Zealand] route being gradually phased out it's very likely that [the A350 XWB] will be deployed pretty quickly on the Auckland route," said CX’s general manager product Toby Smith.
Smith went on to state that the carrier was expecting to take delivery of 12 of the new widebody aircraft next year. CX currently has a total of 48 A350s on order – 22 of the A350-900 and 26 of the larger A350-1000 variant.
In terms of seating capacity, the carrier’s first A350 will feature a three-class configuration with 38 seats in business (1-2-1), 28 in premium economy (2-3-2), and 214 in economy. In comparison to the A340, the A350 will offer 12 more seats in business class, and three in economy.
"The big increase is in the business class cabin. We have a lot of confidence in the premium market," said Smith.
As previously reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific (see here), CX will be offering a new business class seat that is an “evolution of [the] current [Zodiac] seat” found on the carrier’s long-haul B777-300ER and A330-300s.
This will represent a significant improvement over the unpopular business class product found on the A340, which features the old herringbone-style “coffin” business seats.
Finally, Smith also confirmed that the A350 would be capable of offering wifi to passengers. CX will run trials for the service in order to ensure quality.
"We want to make sure it is similar to what they get at the office or at home. We'll be conducting trials before rolling it out".
For more information, visit cathaypacific.com