Cathay Pacific to launch new business class in February 2016

By David Flynn, March 9 2015
Cathay Pacific to launch new business class in February 2016

Cathay Pacific will launch its new business class seat in February 2016 on board its flagship Airbus A350 fleet, with a mid-life refresh for the current Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 business class to follow.

The seat will come from Zodiac Aerospace and belong to the same Cirrus family as Cathay's existing business class, although CX product exec Toby Smith describes the platform to Australian Business Traveller as "an enhanced Cirrus."

Smith confirmed that the seat's design will be carried out by Germany's Porsche Design Group, which was "engaged for their industrial design expertise".

It's believed that Cathay's A350 will have 38 seats in business class, 28 in premium economy and 214 in economy.

Smith also reveals that the A350 will feature a "different and improved" premium economy seat compared to today's first-gen seat (below).

Little more is known about the new business class seat, except that it won't be radically different to the airline's current design.

Codename: FB2+

The new business class "will be very much an evolution of our current seat rather than a brand new seat" Smith confirms."That seat has been very popular with passengers and we saw no reason to re-invent it." 

"But we’ve listened very closely to areas that people said could be improved, and we’ve focussed on this. So while it should be very familiar to our passengers when it comes out, we hope to have some new touches that they will appreciate” Smith says.

The new seats carry an internal codename of ‘FB2+’, denoting them as an incremental step beyond the airline’s current second generation of flatbed business class.

Mid-life refresh for current business class

After the new seat debuts on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350s the airline will turn its attention to a revamp of its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 business class seats.

"We do mid-life refreshes of our products, typically six to seven years after the product is introduced," Smith tells Australian Business Traveller, "and when the time comes to refresh the current product we'll be looking to fold back some of those improvements into the existing fleet."

Given that today's CX business class was launched in early 2011, Smith's suggested timeline hints at a mid-life make-over in 2017 or 2018.

Also read: Cathay Pacific to trial inflight Internet on Airbus A350s

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

I hope the new seat offers more unrestricted arm room. The current hard shell really makes you feel lopsided due to one arm being rather constrained (much like in J on EK). You want to be able to put your elbows at the same height on both sides, in all seat positions, without anything protruding into your arm.

Cathay Pacifics Business Class is truly excellent, but obviously products need updating. I have tried the product, and these are the points which I would criticize, which if corrected, would undoubtedly make it the best product in the market.

1. The material of the seat covers is slightly itchy and not the best material I would imagine, and there are definitely other materials such as Etihad Business Class or leather, such as in Singapore Airlines.

2. The bed is comfortable, and while you cannot make it any wider or longer (as that would be redundant, I feel that bedding would really make it cutting edge. I frequently prefer British Airways First Class, as proper bedding with mattress pad and duvet simply do the trick when trying to sleep.

3. Obviously slightly wider around the foot area.

I hope Cathay acknowledges these points, and they will easily lead the industry. And please keep the legrest - that really differentiates Cathay Pacific Business Class from the less premium airlines, such as Air France who install the pseudo-seat (no legrest which saves a lot of weight but obviously makes the seat much less comfy). Can you believe even the apparently so Premium Etihad opted to remove legrests from 787 First Class? It is marketed as something special, when really it is just a glammed up version with more style but less substance.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

I dont recall seeing the Febriary 2016 launch date for starters....


22 Mar 2015

Total posts 13

I no longer fly Cathay Pacific.  SIngapore and CP were my all time favourite airlines. When they brought in those agonising slide down seats, I went elsewhere.  

I fly mainly to New York.  14 hours to Detroit.  These seats were created by accountants with no respect for customers.  It was cynical and showed a total lack of concern for their customers.

I tried again recently.  Emailing CP to find out if the seats were changed.  I was told they were going to change them.  I asked if I could find out before I flew.  NO, was the reply.  So this care-less airline expects me to find out when I board the plane.  Typical.

So, no CP for me, my company nor anybody I deal with.  They turned a great airline into a crap airline......

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

sounds like you fly Y but act like a J customer

most of the long haul economy seats have now been updated. some basic web search would help. airlines usually cannot tell you exact information like that because occasionally they need to do a last minute shuffle. Its the same if you asked Qantas whether the specific 747 was a refurbished one or not. It might be 95% of the time but they won't guarantee it. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 584

Also it's CX, not CP

03 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

I agree with spinoza, if you want more, then you spend more. You get what you pay for. Also, have you ever thought what you said about "no respect for customers" and "cynical and showed total lack of concern", what slide back seats do is more of an answer to those. The main purpose of slide back seats is that you make sacrifices for your OWN comfort, where as conventional seats make the person BEHIND YOU make the sacrifice for YOUR comfort, which is what people dislike about economy travel. So maybe you should be a bit less selfish and think of the bigger picture? Maybe?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 584

I mostly agree with you spinoza and "cheap for a reason" is my catchphrase, but you get what you pay for is not necessarily true.  For example, EK business is just as expensive as other J class on competing airlines, however it's just an economy seat (pathetic width) that can go flat...some of their seats are still 2-3-2 on 777s.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 584

WOOOOOOPS i meant boredflyer, i agree with you (got the names back-to-front)

03 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

Not trying to be rude, but just something you should maybe think about.


07 Aug 2015

Total posts 15

Agreed wholeheartedly Gippsflyer, its very unnatural and uncomfortable.  I also think they need do something about the tray table which cannot be pulled out when the seat is moved forward so ones feet can reach the foot rest shelf.  To me it's incredible CX keeps getting their business class so wrong.

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