Cathay Pacific announces regional business class upgrade: Premium competition is back in the picture

Courtesy Cathay Pacific Airways

CATHAY Pacific Airways is not losing time to stay in the media limelight on product upgrade following Qantas’ show of new features recently. Singapore Airlines (SIA) has also announced work-in-progress new generation features.

Cathay gave a preview of its new regional business class to be rolled out in 2013 and completed for the entire fleet by end-2014, one that will give “more comfort, versatility for short flights” according to chief executive John Slosar.

  • Each seat is encased in a fixed shell such that when it is reclined, it will not encroach upon the space of the passenger seated behind. The “cradle” structure – which has already been introduced by Japan Airlines – is said to be more comfortable than current seats.
  • The seat pitch is 47 inches, compared to the current pitch of 45 inches. Tall passengers, in particular, can enjoy more legroom.
  • Each seat is equipped with a universal power supply outlet to keep electronic devices fully charged.
  • The meal table is larger, so no more dining – or working – within a cramped space. It comes with an extendable cocktail table.
  •  The on-demand entertainment system provides for widescreen viewing, dubbed StudioCX.
  • There is ample storage space for personal articles.

Mr Slosar recognized that the current state of the global economy is far from what the airlines would want to see – in fact, according to the International Monetary Fund, the slowdown is worsening. The past 18 months had not been good for Cathay against a background of weak demand. While this is not the best scenario for premium travel, it is an ongoing competition among the rivals. While there is “need to stay focused on containing costs,” Mr Slosar also underscored the importance of ensuring that “our customers keep coming back.” He said: “Our new Regional Business Class will play an important role in this respect.”

Besides, product innovation and upgrading in the airline business is a lumbering process spread over several months, if not years. You have to be prepare early to catch the good times when they return. And the beauty of the competition is that it keeps the airlines on their toes and motivate them to be better than one another.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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