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Old February 16th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #2261
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Cathay Pacific's new Business Class means business
13 February 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

WE'VE ALL been there, flying in a Business Class that looks and feels like the economy class of a better airline. We're in seats we wished were roomier or could accommodate the length of our entire body when reclined. Or, better yet, seats we wished we could recline a full 180 degrees.

Are you too wide or too tall, or do you simply want to enjoy the little luxuries that go with your Business Class ticket? Cathay Pacific Airways, the flag carrier of Hong Kong, will soon roll out its enhanced Business Class cabins—wider seats, longer beds, storage cabinets, widescreen TV, cocktail tables wide enough to hold your wine and laptop with ease, and even a vanity mirror.

“These are product innovations that will not just do Cathay Pacific proud, but will do Hong Kong proud,” said Cathay Pacific CEO Tony Tyler. This has been put together for the most important people in our business—our passengers.”

Makeover

Long-haul routes of CX Airbus 330-300 and CX Boeing 777-300ER will get a makeover to accommodate the new Business Class look. All seats will have direct aisle access: in-seat width, 20.2 inches (A330-300) and 21 inches (Boeing 777-300ER); bed length for both, 82 inches; bed width, 27.6 (A330-300) and 29.5 inches (Boeing 777-300ER). Even the 6'5” Tyler was able to stretch his entire body, with decent space still left at the foot area, and toss around in comfort on the new bed.

The new bed will allow passengers to sleep in any position they want. They can even sleep lying down for 14 straight hours on a direct flight from JFK to Hong Kong. Set to take off March this year, the new Business Class cabins will first serve flights to Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, and some European capitals, in that order.

The tableware and linens will also be updated, so expect new blankets, pillows, and duvets to be rolled out along with Narumi Japan porcelain. Your private cubicle will now include three storage cabinets (a shoe cubby, digital-accessories cabinet where the vanity mirror is, and a handbag/briefcase cabinet). There will be four plug outlets for your headphones; a nine-pin hookup for your iPhone, iPad, iPod; an AC plug; and a USB port.

The front cabin will also showcase original artworks of one of Hong Kong's finest artists, Maria Lobo. Her calligraphic-style brushstrokes, and abstract geometric and concentric circle patterns represent the East and the West, she said.

‘Mechanical stretch'

The cabin crew and airport staff will also be donning new uniforms designed by Hong Kong's fashion designer Eddie Lau. Uniforms will still be predominantly red, using new fabrics with “mechanical stretch.” Lau said it will still be that unique, elegant look symbolic of the modern Asian airline “respected worldwide for quality, style, and gracious service.” The new uniform will begin to roll out in the third quarter of this year.

“The new products and services will help keep the airline ahead of the competition,” said Henry Tang, chief secretary for administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Tang also commended the airline for its dedication and professionalism during times of emergency, noting how the management and staff responded to the Hong Kong tourist hostage crisis in Manila. “Your response was deeply appreciated and felt by the affected families and by the community as a whole,” Tang said.

The new product and services were launched during the “Light Up The Sky” convention in Hong Kong. Also launched was Cathay Pacific's airport lounge, The Cabin, at the Hong Kong International Airport, where Business and First Class passengers are provided iPads upon request. There is also a new Health Bar in the lounge.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #2262
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtang/539815415/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/cx717/5451178610/
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Old February 16th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #2263
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Source : http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/277/2771819.html



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Old February 17th, 2011, 03:47 PM   #2264
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Cathay Pacific to Offer Fast Auckland to Milan Service
17 February 2011
Scoop.co.nz

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that, subject to government approval, it will increase the frequency of its Milan service from four flights a week to daily from 1 July 2011 in response to strong demand.

Cathay Pacific's new service will offer the fastest daily service from Auckland to Milan, with just one brief stopover in Hong Kong. Passengers will be able to leave Auckland at 1.20 pm any day of the week and then arrive in Malpensa Airport, Milan at 7.50 am the next day (local time).

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "Demand to and from Milan has been very encouraging since we launched the route in March last year and we are pleased to be able to strengthen the service and offer more choice to our passengers. We are also taking the opportunity to add capacity on a number of other routes that will further boost connectivity through Hong Kong, one of the world's leading international aviation hubs."

The airline is also increasing capacity on a number of other routes including Paris, Jakarta, Surabaya, Bangkok and Delhi.

From 27 March, the airline will add three extra flights to Paris making a twice daily service to the French capital. The additional flights will operate via Amsterdam. Surabaya will become a daily service with the addition of one more flight a week. Three additional flights to Jakarta will also be added effective 15 August.

Services to and from Malaysia will also be enhanced with three Penang flights that currently go via Kuala Lumpur becoming direct flights from 27 March. In addition, the airline will employ larger aircraft on the Bangkok-Delhi services from Hong Kong.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 08:16 PM   #2265
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Hong Kong Approves Cathay Pacific Fuel Surcharge Rise For March
18 February 2011

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--The Hong Kong government said Friday it approved Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.'s (0293.HK) application to raise passenger fuel surcharges by 10%-15% in March because of higher global oil prices.

The fuel surcharge for short-haul flights operated by Cathay Pacific will rise 15% to HK$165 per journey from HK$143, and the surcharge for its long-haul flights will rise 10% to HK$747 from HK$677.

The Civil Aviation Department also approved a request from All Nippon Airways Co. (9202.TO) to raise its passenger fuel surcharge for short-haul flights by 15% to HK$165 from HK$143 per journey, it said.

The government said earlier it would review passenger fuel surcharge applications from airlines on a monthly basis instead of every two months, to enable airlines to quickly adjust their surcharges in line with changes in jet fuel prices.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 07:10 AM   #2266
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Cathay Pacific releases combined traffic figures for January 2011


15 February 2011


Cathay Pacific Airways today released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for January 2011 that show an increase in the number of passengers and amount of cargo and mail carried year on year, though there was a drop in load factors due to the increase in capacity.

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 2,243,788 passengers in January – up 6.8% on the same month in 2010. The passenger load factor, however, was down by 2.5 percentage points to 81.3%. Capacity for the month, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), was up by 10.1%.

The two airlines carried 144,402 tonnes of cargo in January 2011, a rise of 8.9% compared to January last year, while the cargo and mail load factor was down 7.1 percentage points to 67.8%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, was up by 25.5%, while cargo and mail tonne kilometres flown were up by 13.7%.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Tom Owen said: "Passenger traffic held up quite well following the Christmas and New Year peaks, and the quality of revenue in all classes of travel saw an improvement over the same period in 2010. Premium traffic volumes remained steady and we saw a strong spike in leisure travel on our regional routes towards the end of the month due to the Chinese New Year holidays. This also flattered the monthly growth comparisons year over year as the Chinese New Year holiday effect was not seen until February in 2010.”

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing James Woodrow said: “Freight volumes fell away a little following the 2010 year-end peak but, overall, traffic still held up quite well throughout the first month of 2011.Demand out of the key Hong Kong and Mainland China markets was a little softer than anticipated but this freed up space to enable us to carry more shipments from other destinations in the network. The expected pre-Chinese New Year rush did not materialize to the extent seen in previous years.”
CATHAY PACIFIC / DRAGONAIR
COMBINED TRAFFIC January 2010 % change vs Jan10 Cumulative Jan2011 % change
YTD
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Old February 20th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #2267
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Source:http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/...ws-151447.html

Quote:
Cathay Pacific accused of racism after refusing job to Muslim worker

London, Feb.20 : Algerian born Salim Zakhrouf (38), a Muslim airport worker, has accused Cathay Pacific airline of racism, after he was denied an interview, only to be offered one two days later when he applied again, using a fake British sounding name.

Zakhrouf had applied to Cathay Pacific for a job as a passenger services officer at the Heathrow Airport.

He had been informed via email that he had not been selected for interview, but applying 48 hours later as Ian Woodhouse, with the same CV and home address, he was invited for the interview by the same officer who had refused him earlier, The Daily Mail reports.

Zakhrouf refused to attend the interview and informed his union Unite about this incident, which has now decided to register a case against Cathay Pacific, accusing the airline of racial discrimination to an employment tribunal.

Marketing Head for Cathay Pacific in UK, Roberto Abbondio, termed the incident as an 'administrative error', and said that the company was reviewing its recruitment process after the incident.

Though executives of Cathay Pacific have apologized to Zakhrouf, he said he had no desire to work for the airline, after the way he had been treated.

--ANI
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Old February 20th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #2268
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In September I'll fly to SYD from Japan with a stopover of 3 days in HKG. Will you buy the ticket now (I found some reasonable prices with Cathay) or wait for better deals?
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Old February 21st, 2011, 02:41 PM   #2269
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Here's more information about the racism case from the local papers :
Muslim accuses Cathay of racism
21 February 2011
SCMP

Cathay Pacific has been accused of racism by a Muslim airport worker after he was denied a job interview at the airline's office in Heathrow Airport, London.

Salim Zakhrouf, who was born in Algeria, said he was offered an interview by the Hong Kong carrier days later after he applied again, using a white, British-sounding name, Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The airline's UK head of marketing Roberto Abbondio was quoted as saying it was an administrative error probably caused by staff being overloaded with 709 applications.

Abbondio told the Mail the case was "unfortunate and disappointing" and said that Cathay Pacific would review its recruitment process. Alison Loftin, the airline's UK personnel manager, has also written to apologise to Zakhrouf and offered to arrange a meeting.

A spokesman at Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong headquarters said last night she would look into the case.

"We will contact our UK office to ensure we understand the issue first," said the spokesman, adding that a job applicant's nationality should not be an issue. "Cathay Pacific is an equal opportunities employer and has a policy of full compliance with all anti-discrimination legislation."

Zakhrouf, 38, a British citizen, who has been living there for 20 years, said he had applied for a job at Cathay Pacific seven times in three years, but had been rejected each time.

He has 17 years' customer service experience and works as a flight handling agent at Heathrow Airport.

In the latest rejection, Cathay Pacific said in an e-mail that he had not been selected for an interview for the post of passenger services officer.

Yet two days' later he applied again, using a fake name, "Ian Woodhouse", but with an identical resume and home address. He was invited for an interview by the same personnel officer that had first rejected him.

Zakhrouf was so angry he refused to attend. "The way they handled my application was racist and unfair," he told the Mail.

His union, Unite, is reportedly planning to bring a case accusing Cathay Pacific for racial discrimination to an employment tribunal.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #2270
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Old February 27th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #2271
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Cathay workers jailed over check-in bribes
24 February 2011
The Standard

Two former Cathay Pacific employees and two other people have been jailed for accepting bribes to help mainlanders sneak overseas via Hong Kong airport.

Gordon Ng Ka-wah, 31, a former customer services officer, was jailed for 20 months while former colleague Tan Wei-menn, 46, received a 16-month prison term.

Co-defendants Patrick Cheung Chun-wah, 47, and Thomas Chan Kin-hung, 63, both unemployed, were each sentenced to 14 months' imprisonment.

Ng and Tan were also ordered to pay HK$15,000 and HK$16,000 respectively in restitution to the government, while Cheung and Chan must pay HK$20,000 and HK$9,000.

District Court Judge Susana D'Almada Remedios said custodial sentences were imposed because of the seriousness of the offences. The four had compromised Cathay's security system and undermined the image of Hong Kong airport, she added.

The defendants had pleaded guilty to five charges of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages.

The court heard that Cheung and Chan were escorts engaged by syndicates that arranged for mainlanders to board flights for the United States and Europe.

Between December 2008 and August 2009, Ng, Tan and a third Cathay customer services officer, Tsui Ying-kit, helped the syndicates by carrying out check-in procedures for the mainlanders.

In return, Ng, Tan or Tsui accepted a bribe of HK$500 or HK$600 for each boarding pass issued.

Ng and Tan accepted a total of HK$15,000 and HK$16,000 respectively.

Cheung and Chan escorted the mainlanders to the check-in counter, earning HK$20,000 and HK$9,000.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption continues to look for Tsui, who jumped bail on October 23, 2009.

In a similar case involving other airlines, the anti-graft body is hunting for an unemployed man, So Shui-wang, 46.

So was due to appear at Tsuen Wan Magistracy on May 24 last year, but he failed to turn up for the hearing.

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of either of the two men is being urged by the ICAC to contact its 24-hour hotline: 2526-6366.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 05:36 AM   #2272
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Cathay Pacific welcomes budget strategy and commitment to reinforcing Hong Kong’s role as transport hub
23 February 2011
Press Release

Cathay Pacific Airways welcomed the Budget strategy set out today by the Financial Secretary, Mr John Tsang, to continue to invest heavily in infrastructure, optimise the business environment, and enhance the competitiveness of the four pillar industries of Hong Kong – trading and logistics, financial services, business and professional services, and tourism.

The airline is also encouraged by the Financial Secretary’s acknowledgement that “reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as an international and regional transport hub is vital to our economic development”, and that the Government will “continue to invest in transport infrastructure projects and optimise our highly efficient multimodal transport services, with a view to promoting the development of air, sea and land transport and logistics”.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “As Hong Kong’s home carrier, Cathay Pacific is committed to enhancing the status of Hong Kong as a leading international aviation hub and the premier gateway into Mainland China for both passenger and cargo services. We are making significant investments in the Hong Kong hub through strengthening our international network, growing our environmentally friendly fleet, and building a new cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) that will substantially increase the cargo handling capacity of the airport.

“We are pleased that the Financial Secretary stressed the need to ensure that HKIA is equipped to cope with projected air traffic growth. We support the development of a third runway at HKIA, which we see as an urgent policy priority in the face of runway capacity constraints and growing competition from neighbouring hubs. We look forward to the roll out of the HKIA Master Plan 2030 Study.”

Mr Tyler also welcomed the Government’s plans to capitalise on the “China advantage” and would support Hong Kong’s efforts in complementing the National 12th Five-Year Plan.

“We particularly welcome the Government’s remarks on maintaining closer ties with the Mainland in order to facilitate cargo movements within the region. We hope this will lead to a simplified and more efficient flow of cargo transhipments,” he said.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 05:08 PM   #2273
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Cathay Pacific's CEO Tony Tyler Bows Out With A Nod To Asia
23 February 2011
Dow Jones

Tony Tyler said he doesn't make a habit of flying more than 8,000 miles for lunch, but the outgoing head of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK, CPCAY) had better become used to the chore.

A whistlestop visit to New York last week was one of Tyler's last as chief executive of the Hong Kong flag carrier before he takes the reins of the International Air Transport Association, or IATA, the industry's main lobby group and talking shop, on July 1.

Tyler is going out on a high, as Cathay rebounds from a record loss two years ago. Expectations for record earnings in 2010 for Cathay are being driven by more business flyers and the recovery in the cargo market, as well as asset sales.

Wall Street bankers using Hong Kong as a gateway to China and what Tyler describes as the abundant mix of "apples and cherries"--paid cargo such as consumer electronics and consumables in the aircraft hold--have led Cathay to forecast 2010 net profit of at least HK$12.5 billion.

"I'll be surprised if it's as good as last year," said Tyler of the airline's 2011 results during an appearance before the Wings Club in New York.

Attracting the deal makers in his New York audience and elsewhere is central to the strategy of Cathay and Dragonair, the wholly-owned subsidiary that does the bulk of its flying into mainland China.

The two carriers will remain full-service operations, eschewing any move into the type of no-frills territory employed by rivals in the region and protected in part by Hong Kong's comparatively high labor costs, themselves the source of frequent friction with airline staff.

That means sinking millions into new business-class seats and other products aimed at its premium passengers. Fancy seats with flat beds and entertainment options can run to over $100,000 each, and Tyler said the investment can rattle the accountants. "It's pretty difficult to justify if you just look at the numbers," he said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

Tyler said keeping up with the service "arms-race" at the front of the plane is necessary to avoid hurting Cathay's brand in the face of intensifying competition, notably from Middle East carriers.

"If we didn't do it there would be a slow spiral down," he said, with the company forced to discount fares to lure passengers.

Tyler, 55, has led Cathay since 2007 and spent 34 years at parent Swire Group, making him the first Asian-domiciled chief executive to oversee the 230 airlines grouped under the IATA umbrella.

"Asian airlines in particular are concerned about growth," Tyler said, and that will likely color his leadership as the industry grapples with securing and paying for airport and other infrastructure and managing the shifting sands of environmental regulations.

Tyler, a British citizen born in Egypt, is reticent to go much further in detailing his IATA agenda before official confirmation of his succession to replace Giovanni Bisignani. This is due at the association's annual meeting in Cairo in June, though IATA is still "monitoring" the fallout from Egypt's political upheaval before deciding whether to go ahead with the meeting.

What is clear is that Tyler sides with the camp that views the airline industry as "different" from others, a product of its safety culture and technology focus that has always colored its relations with government.

He seems to have little time for the outbreak of industry infighting that has seen a number of European flag carriers criticize the rapid growth of Gulf-based carriers such as Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

The trio have been accused of using state subsidies to finance their growth--charges they deny--but Tyler said there will never be a level playing field in the industry, and that airlines should just move on and compete in the marketplace, not through the courts or their governments.

Such a view might smack of diplomacy, but Tyler seems happy to wade into territory that many fellow executives avoid, notably on alliances.

Cathay is a founder member of Oneworld, one of three global groupings--alongside Star and SkyTeam--that encompass most of the world's largest airlines. Its is unique in straddling two of the groups, courtesy of the cross-shareholding deal agreed in 2006 with Air China Ltd. (601111.SH, AIRYY, 0753.HK), a key member of Star.

The pull of Air China is expanding Cathay's footprint on the mainland through cross-selling of seats, a new cargo joint venture and working groups aimed at boosting revenue and cutting costs.

Air China is certainly name-checked more than Oneworld leaders British Airways (IAG.LN, ICAGY) and American Airlines (AMR), which Tyler sees as providing useful passenger and cargo feed in Europe and North America rather than less tangible synergies.

"We are in the alliance we want to be in," he said. "Airlines talk up the opportunities for cost savings rather more than they deserve."
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Old February 28th, 2011, 04:09 AM   #2274
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CX new website dedicates for its new business class seat.
http://www.cathaypacific.aero/newbus...s/high/en.html

First flight will be launched on March 1 between HKG and SYD.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 03:17 PM   #2275
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瞄準台港航線 國泰航空 全面更新商務艙

http://money.chinatimes.com/news ... 000133&cid=1203

香港國泰航空首架配備新商務艙產品的空中巴士A330-300客機,昨日在法國土魯斯交機,由4月1日即將升任國泰行政總裁的常務總裁史樂山主持交機活動。

 史樂山指出,國泰非常重視台灣市場,在台港線每周擁有108班航權,2009年兩岸直航後曾經衝擊到台港航線,但是隨著陸客訪問台灣的人數增長,台港航線旅客也回升,未來國泰將充分利用這些航權,搭乘國泰航班轉往世界各國的台灣旅客,都有機會享用全新商務艙服務,擁有新商務艙的新機,將先配置在雪梨航線,20架A330與30架波音777都將陸續更換全新商務艙。

 國泰是在金融海嘯期間,就進行更新商務艙的設計規劃。史樂山表示,空運是向上走的市場,公司隨時都做好準備,這次耗資10億港幣做商務艙更新,對於今年空運市場獲利可能受到高油價衝擊,史樂山表示,長程線是公司珍貴資產,不會因此減少高耗油的長程航線航班。

 新商務客艙邀集飛行常客收集意見,就舒適度、多用途特色及功能各方面深入研究而成,乘客於客艙內的睡眠、餐膳、工作、閱讀、視聽娛樂及歇息等需要均照顧周全,備有置物、置鞋空間,座椅可以平躺,在首臂與膝蓋部分並加寬,方便乘客翻身與屈膝,是市面上商用客機使用的最寬最長的睡床之一。




台灣民航局網站數字,2011年1月來回台北香港總計
http://www.caa.gov.tw/big5/content/index01.asp?sno=1407

按乘客人次市場佔有率
國泰 44.3%
華航 32.6%
長榮 16.0%
港龍 7.1%

載客率
長榮 74.3%
國泰 69.6%
華航 68.2%
港龍 60.7%

而高雄香港就係

按乘客人次市場佔有率
港龍 56.4%
華航 28.4%
華信 15.2%

載客率
港龍 62.9%
華航 62.6%
華信 57.9%
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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:32 PM   #2276
caelus
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CX's new business class has just been launched tonight on 1st of March! The new A330 plane to Sydney has been installed with the new J class seats, the new catering utensils however, has been in use since last month......

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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:56 PM   #2277
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Hope I can lie-flat more comfortably given the bed narrows at the legs.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:58 PM   #2278
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Source : http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/525/5254475.html











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Old March 1st, 2011, 04:22 PM   #2279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Hope I can lie-flat more comfortably given the bed narrows at the legs.
i particular like that small storage. the current fish bone version just has nowhere to put small personal belongings, and even the headset!
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 02:48 PM   #2280
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http://www.ausbt.com.au/review-catha...ss-class-seats


Review: Cathay Pacific’s new business class seats


Cathay Pacific’s new international business class seats made their worldwide commercial debut overnight on the CX101 service from Hong Kong to Sydney.

Australian Business Traveller snared some time with the factory-fresh Airbus A330-300 (which arrived from Airbus HQ in Toulouse only three days ago) at Sydney International Airport for a first-hand look at the new business class seats.





The cabin

Business class occupies the very front of the two-class A330-300 and is divided into two cabins.

The frontmost cabin is the larger of the two, with seven rows numbered 11-12 and then 14 through 18 – yes, in a nod to triskaidekaphobia, row 13 is missing.

Snuck away behind the galley kitchen is a second business class cabin (below) with rows 19 to 21, separated from the economy section by a curtain.



While frequent flyers may gravitate towards this secondary cabin for its smaller and more intimate feel, be warned that directly behind the bulkhead adjoining economy are two bassinet positions – so the best chance of a quiet and productive flight (or a restful one, if you’re travelling overnight) will be to stay forward of row 20.

The overall feel of the new cabin is much lighter and more elegant. There’s less of Cathay’s deep sea green on the fabric of the seats while the sidewalls are finished in brushed metal with touches of grey and champagne.

Cathay has also gone an extra mile in little touches such as bamboo prints and abstract prints by Hong Kong artist Maria Lobo on the bulkheads, and a vase containing a fresh-cut flower in front of each set of paired D&G seats.

The layout

Both business class cabins sport a spacious 1-2-1 configuration (seat A on the left side, D and G paired in the middle and K on the right) for a total of 39 seats across 10 rows – there’s no seat 19K, as that space is given over to a toilet and coat closet.

As with an increasing number of airlines. Cathay has opted for a herringbone layout in which all seats are angled rather than arrayed front-on.

The seats nearest the windows are angled away from the aisle and towards the windows for maximum privacy, an effect enhanced by being staggered slightly ahead of their middle-row counterparts.

Sit in a bulkhead seat such as 11A, 11K or 19A and it’s as if you are in your own private world – the only way to see your fellow passengers is to crane your neck around the extended partition.

By comparison, the two centre seats are angled towards each other – although the seats recline so far back that you still get plenty of privacy. You could fly from Sydney to London and manage to ignore the other passenger all the way.

What if you're travelling with a colleague or your partner and want to chat? Move the seat forward, lean well forward from the recessed seat-well, swivel around so you're angled towards your seatmate in your own seat and possibly raise your voice a little because you're still a distance away from each other. The CX-supplied PR shot below shows what we're talking about.



This isn’t going to be a hit with those who like to travel in pairs and share the journey. But it’s a win for most business travellers who tend to fly solo.

All of the business class rows are located forward of the A330’s wing, although the view from the last two window seats (21A and 21K) is partially obstructed by the engine cowling.

The seats

Cathay Pacific’s new business class seats are designed and manufactured by French firm Zodiac Aerospace, which markets them as the Sicma Aero Cirrus to airlines around the world (US Airways uses these as their international business class Envoy Suite).



It’s noteworthy that Zodiac Aerospace promotes this as a First Class product – we could well imagine these seats in the first class cabin of smaller carriers running shorter routes.

The seats are set into a fixed shell so that reclining them doesn’t steal space away from the passenger behind you. The aisle side of the shell includes an angled extension adjacent to the head and shoulders to enhance privacy.

A cluster of controls on the side panel includes a reading light (with adjustable brightness), seat adjustment, the IFE (in-flight entertainment) controller, a universal power outlet for laptops and a USB port for charging tablets and smartphones.



There’s also an iPhone/iPad/iPod connector socket so you can play video from your iDevice onto the 15-inch video screen (below).



But this isn’t Apple’s standard skinny 30-pin plug: as with Singapore Airlines, United and several other carriers Cathay is using a round multi-pin socket which Apple calls an 'iPod Connectivity Cable' port. CX cabin staff will have the special cables on hand to lend to passengers during the flight – one end of the cable plugs into this socket while the other has the more familiar flat Apple connector.

We had some initial concerns about the placement of the laptop power socket, which sits at the bottom of this panel – just above the armrest and cocktail table.

Our experience with the previous CX business class cubicle design is that locating power outlets high on the side of the seat impinges on your space, especially if you’re using an Apple laptop with a palm-sized adaptor.



But the new seat and panel are angled slightly away from each other so there’s no problem with your elbow or forearm knocking the power brick.

One thing that’s got to be said for these new seats is that there’s plenty of storage space for your odds and ends. This was one shortcoming of the previous Cathay Pacific cubicles, as it is with many business class seats.



At the aisle-side foot of each seat is a compact shoe locker (above).

Set into the wall under the cocktail table is a nook with ample space for laptops, tablets, books or magazines, along with a mesh holder for your water bottle (below). This is all within easy reach when the seat is reclined into a lie-flat bed.



At the broad end of the cocktail table, situated behind the control panel, is a cabinet (below) which contains a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while still having room for reading glasses and in-flight toiletries. The inside of the door is also fitted with a vanity mirror concealed behind a sliding plastic flap.



Cathay suggests that passengers in the middle seats can leave the spring-loaded cabinet door open to act as a privacy screen, but we’re not convinced – the door is fairly small, it wobbles annoyingly and it just looks untidy.



We've got no idea what this tiny recess above is for. But there's a green light next to it, so that's A Good Thing... (update: we're told this cavity is so the cabin crew can step up to the overhead lockers. Still not sure about that green light).

There’s also a good amount of workspace available, with a bi-fold table swinging out from under the cocktail table.



This proved large enough to comfortably hold a 15.4 inch laptop, although notebooks with a 13-14 inch screen – which tend to be the sweet spot for frequent flyers – will be a far better fit.



The new seats on the A330-300 are just over 20 inches wide, giving them almost a two inch advantage over the cubicle design, in addition to the feeling of being less enclosed.

In lie-flat mode the seat turns into what should be an exceptionally comfortable bed. It’s several inches longer than the cubicle seating – Cathay rates the ‘usable length’ as 75 inches over 71 inches, even though the total ‘tip to tip’ length of the bed is 82 inches (81 inches in the old design).




At the far end of the seating enclosure is a raised ‘ottoman’ shelf finished with a very soft material which affords more inches of stretch-out room. It’s hard to imagine anybody but the loftiest flyer finding this bed too short for a good snooze.



Even at full recline there's sufficient privacy around the passenger's head.



By retracting the armrest into the seat chassis the upper half of the bed gains several more inches of elbow room, at the cost of reduced privacy if you're sleeping facing the aisle.

As the seat converts into a bed, a ‘bed extension’ panel swings up from beneath the base of the seat to add almost six inches of knee-room if you’re sleeping on your side.

As you’d expect from a brand new aircraft the seats were incredibly comfortable – they’ve not even been ‘worn in’, and the entire aircraft still had that ‘new plane’ scent (it’s like a new car smell but costs around A$220 million more).

But with Cathay spending HK$1 billion (A$130 million) on its business class overhaul we doubt they’ve skimped on anything.

Summary


On first impressions it’s hard to fault Cathay Pacific’s new business class seats. They’re a smart design with ample space, comfort and amenities for the eight hour trip to Hong Kong and eventually long-haul hopover treks to Europe and the UK.


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