Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific is drawing the curtains back on its new Airbus A321neo single-aisle jets, which feature the airline’s re-imagined regional Business Class seat. Originally destined for the now-defunct Cathay Dragon, these Airbus A321neos will carry 12 passengers in Business and 190 in Economy.
Better in Business
With just three rows of Business Class, the 12 fixed-back recliner seats are set in a 2-2 configuration and promise a ‘cocoon-like feel’ with divider screens for maximum privacy. The sleek beige styling of these new seats (below, left) is a stark contrast against the signature green fabrics of yesteryear (below, right).
Entertainment in 4K, with Bluetooth streaming
With the A321neo jets primarily being used for routes under 4 hours of length, in-flight entertainment remains a firm focus on the airline. Business Class passengers will enjoy a 15.6″ 4K video screen, while those in Economy can still enjoy crisp content on an 11.6″ 4K panel.
Significantly, Bluetooth audio streaming will be introduced progressively so you can pack your favourite noise-cancelling headphones and use it cord-free onboard.
Cathay boasts that the A321neo will have an enhanced content selection providing ‘one of the largest movie and TV libraries available on a regional single-aisle aircraft’. High-speed inflight WiFi will also be gradually switched on, ensuring business travellers can stay more productive during the journey.
The jet’s storage bins enjoy a sizeable upgrade also, providing ‘60% more space’ for customers to store cabin bags in the overhead lockers.
Up to 16 jets earmarked for 2023
With four A321neo planes already under its wing, Cathay Pacific will launch its first regional flights from 4 August 2021, starting with Hong Kong to Shanghai (Pudong). Other destinations will follow, including Taipei, Nanjing and Guangzhou. The airline expects to receive another two in 2021 and have up to 16 A321neos by the end of 2023.
We’re incredibly excited to see our next-generation A321neo take to the skies for the first time next month as we continue to add more passenger services in the region. The single-aisle A321neo is the newest addition to our fleet and has been designed and fitted with an array of new features that offer the most enjoyable short-haul experience in the world to our customers. We look forward to deploying A321neos on more regional routes and welcoming customers on board.– Augustus Tang, Cathay Pacific CEO, 16 July 2021
Summing up: Cathay Pacific Airbus A321neo
The Airbus A321neo will be a great nimble jet for Cathay Pacific. It’s fuel-efficient and boasts all the latest mod-cons for passenger comfort on these shorter flights.
Cathay Pacific typically flies its much larger Airbus A350s, Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s on journeys to Australia, so we’ll likely only be able to experience the airline’s A321neo flights sometime in the distant future once international travel restrictions to Hong Kong and beyond are loosened.
Meanwhile, competitor Singapore Airlines is gearing up to launch fully-flat Business Class beds on its upcoming single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX 8 regional jets. Singapore Airlines is selecting the popular Thompson Aero ‘Vantage’ seat, which faces forwards and alternates between a 2-2 and 1-1 layout so all passengers can fully recline.
The battle for business travellers in Asia, post COVID-19, is definitely going to be a hot one.