BY Kai-Chin Shih / 11 APRIL 2014/ TOKYOJAPAN/ talkairlines.wordpress.com
According to Australian Business Traveler, Cathay Pacific has initiated the “FB3” seat project, in which the next generation lie-flat Business Class seat will be designed and debuted on the new A350-900XWB.
Cathay Pacific’s first A350-900XWB, which shall be MSN029 according to abcdlist.nl, is scheduled for delivery in February 2016. The aircraft type will consist of Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy Class. First Class, however, will not be introduced on the -900 variant but the -1000 variant instead (Making the CX A350-1000 a four classes aircraft). Cathay Pacific has 22 A350-900XWB and 26 A350-1000XWB on order. All deliveries are planned to be done by 2020.
(Visit the original article for more information including interviews with the officials of the airlines along with details on the manufacturers and designers of the interior. Sincere thanks to David Flynn, Editor of Australian Business Traveller, for the report.)
Cathay Pacific officials stated that the carrier “can’t stand still” in the competitive and ever-changing airline business. Cathay Pacific and rival carrier Singapore Airlines have been the leading airlines in innovation. Cathay Pacific’s new long haul and short haul business classes are both among the best worldwide while Singapore Airline’s already world-leading First and Business Class cabin just received a brand new design in 2013.
>talkairlines can see the urgency of Cathay Pacific in introducing a new Business Class seat. When Cathay Pacific launched the new Business Class using the Cirrus Zodiac seats, the seat was still a rather new product with only a handful of customers including US Airways. However, over the years, the Cirrus Zodiac seats have become extremely popular worldwide, with airlines such as American Airlines and EVA Air using the seats and carriers including Air France planning on using the seats. Similar seat type, the Super Diamond Seats by B/E Aerospace, is also gaining more customers than ever recently.
>talkairlines expects to see the new FB3 completely abandon the reverse herringbone seating. Regardless of how successful and economical the particular seating is, it is still lacking a sense of luxury when being compared to Singapore Airline’s newest and previous version Business Class seating, in which the forward-facing seating has never been abandoned. However, if Cathay Pacific still desires to carry on using its current seating, >talkairlines believes that the outcome will be extremely interesting and may bring the seating kind to its finest. Also possible is Cathay Pacific debuting a brand new seating, just like Japan Airlines debuting the private yet economical 2-3-2 Sky Suite in Business Class in which every seat has direct aisle access. JAL’s Sky Suite is extremely successful and highly awarded.