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Cathay Pacific Teases 'Aria Suites' For New Boeing 777 Business Class

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Tom Goward | 12/03/2024

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Cathay Pacific is gearing up to dazzle passengers by refreshing its seating, including a new flagship business class product it calls ‘Aria Suites’. In a new 90-second video shared to Cathay’s socials overnight, the Hong Kong-based oneworld alliance member teased its new cabins.

As well as the Aria Suite, Cathay will enhance its premium economy and economy seating, saying every aspect of the new designs has been carefully considered to offer maximum passenger comfort. While the cabins were originally set to debut in the second quarter of 2024, the precise timeline has since been scrapped, beyond a 2024 delivery.

Cathay’s 38-strong fleet of Boeing 777-300ER jets will be progressively retrofitted with these new cabins, and from late 2025, the seats will be delivered on the new Boing 777-9, the world’s largest twinjet aircraft.

Aria Suites: Cathay Pacific’s New B777 Business Class

Cathay’s surgical jade and ivory white are on the bench, making room for a soft teal and cream colourway. Bringing what Cathay describes as ‘quiet luxury’ to the skies, the Aria Suites take an elegant approach that looks minimalist and warm. But this isn’t just a reskin, Cathay is working under the guidance of London firm JPA Design, who have worked on countless premium cabins, including Cathay’s previous generation Safran Cirrus product flying today.

Cathay Pacific Aria Suites Business Class Render

While originally we thought Cathay would become the launch customer for JPA’s Airtec seat, this latest mockup looks remarkably similar to the Collins Elements product, a hugely successful seat that you might recognise from Starlux or Etihad. While Collins has admitted to working with Cathay, they didn’t confirm what on. But the console, door mechanism and tray deployment are telltale signs.

Cathay Pacific Aria Suites Business Class Render

As is becoming a standard feature in business, each suite comes with a sliding privacy door, with walls wrapping above head height.

Cathay Pacific Aria Suites Business Class Render

There’s a 24-inch 4K touchscreen that can connect to your personal headphones via Bluetooth, as well as a device holder built into the tray table if you’d rather binge your own Netflix downloads. To keep powered up, there is a wireless charging pad as well as USB-A and USB-C charging. Furthermore, enclosed storage compartments keep your items from flying around the cabin.

Cathay Pacific Aria Suites Business Class Render

Cathay Pacific’s New Premium Economy & Economy

Cathay’s all-new premium economy product will offer a “generous recline and legroom”, with an extendable legrest in the first row. The new seats add privacy wings with a built-in reading light, plus a small divider built into the armrest to split the middle row of four seats into two pairs. There’s also a new 15.6″ 4K touchscreen, with the same Bluetooth connectivity as business class.

Cathay Pacific New B777-300 Premium Economy Render

Cathay will also refresh its economy seats, with inflight tech receiving the biggest bump. Again you can Bluetooth to the seatback screen, as well as charge up via a USB-A plug, but resolution figures weren’t shared. An under-screen compartment will offer added storage space, but beyond that, it looks like a regular slimline economy seat.

Cathay Pacific New B777-300 Economy Render

Cathay Pacific To Scrap First Class?

Currently, some of Cathay’s 777-300ERs offer a first class cabin of just six seats. While they aren’t industry-leading, many frequent flyers have grown to love the product. Interestingly, the airline is developing a new ‘Halo Suite’ exclusively for first class onboard the incoming Boeing 777-9. For the retrofitted 777-300ERs, Cathay will offer a three-cabin configuration, with Business, Premium Economy and Economy only.

Will Cathay’s Other Aircraft Receive These New Seats?

When the Aria Suite was first announced, it was planned to debut on Cathay’s first Boeing 777-9 which was scheduled for delivery in 2020. But that date came and went, with Boeing racking up huge delays across the entire 777X program, from the pandemic to issues with certification and production, as well as delays with the new ultra-efficient GE9X engines. Now, Cathay won’t receive their first of 21 777-9s on order until at least 2025.

Those delays likely led Cathay to begin retrofitting its current fleet, with the actual delivery date of their new 777-9s still up in the air. For now, there is no indication Cathay will install fresh seating on its A350, A330 or B777-300 aircraft. Although, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the new cabins eventually make an appearance fleet-wide.

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Tom Goward

Chief Operating Officer & Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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