Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific teams up with local lifestyle brand G.O.D. for new amenity kits

By Raymond Kollau,

Cathay Pacific has unveiled its new amenity kits for Premium Economy Class passengers which feature exclusive designs by home-grown Hong Kong brand G.O.D. (which stands for Goods of Desire). Cathay says its design collaboration with G.O.D. took inspiration from the “vibrant culture of Hong Kong, where East meets West and age-old traditions blend with cutting-edge technology.”

G.O.D. is a leading Hong Kong lifestyle brand, whose self-proclaimed mission is to “define a new Asian derived lifestyle concept as an alternative to the established Western way of living.” The company designs and retails stylish, affordable home furnishings and tableware, as well as some fashion items and “signature items with a quirky Hong Kong feel.”

Local design
Cathay Pacific General Manager Product Toby Smith said: “As Hong Kong’s home carrier, Cathay Pacific supports local design and creative culture. G.O.D. is known for its fun, niche and lifestyle designs, which is a good fit for our Premium Economy Class. The plan is to have four designs per year, two outbound and two inbound. The hope is that they will become real collectibles and that passengers can look forward to receiving a new design every time they travel.”

The first two designs on board are called ‘Joy’ and ’Fortune’. The ‘Joy’ design depicts Chinese gods enjoying themselves inflight by sipping coffee, using the computer or reading, and is available on flights departing Hong Kong, while the ‘Fortune’ design features a Chinese-style image of auspicious clouds and will be distributed on inbound flights. The kits will be progressively made available in Premium Economy for long haul flights from mid-October.
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Innovative airlines 2011: #9 Cathay Pacific

At number 9 we find Cathay Pacific, winner of the ‘Airline of the Year’ award in 2009, and also one of the just six 5-star airlines in the world. Cathay was hit hard during the financial crisis as it is heavily exposed to business travellers from the financial sector. Cathay responded by parking aircraft, reducing routes and frequencies, and asked its staff to take unpaid leave. The airline also reconfigured its business class cabin on a number of aircraft and introduced a fee for extra-legroom seats in Economy.

As its performance has improved sharply recently, thanks to the economic growth in Asia, Cathay is investing again in its product and has launched an USD129 million upgrade program that includes a new Business Class cabin. Cathay’s new full-flat seats have a novel feature called ‘Bed Extension,’ which significantly increases the bed width (more details here).

Cathay Pacific earlier also announced it will introduce a Premium Economy product by 2012 as such a cabin would help capture passengers trading down from Business Class. Not all seating innovations turn out well however. The airline’s ‘fixed shell’ economy seats, which were introduced between 2007 and 2009, proved to be uncomfortable when put into the recline position, and following passenger complaints Cathay is changing them for a new economy seat.

To emphasize its service expertise, Cathay Pacific launched a book called ‘Service in the Sky’ in mid-2011. Written by training instructors from the airline’s ‘Inflight Services Training & Development’ department, the book contains cabin crew training modules, including 24 real case studies depicting difficult situations and recommended approaches, as well as articles on different aspects of Cathay Pacific’s service beliefs and its training philosophy and techniques.
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Cathay Pacific’s ‘The Cabin’ lounge caters to the connected traveller

Cathay Pacific is about to open ‘The Cabin’, its latest departure lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. Designed by Foster + Partners, the concept of the 1,300-square-metre space builds on several current consumer trends, such as connectivity, individuality and a healthy lifestyle. The Cabin is separated into five different zones – The Reception, The IT Zone, The Deli, The Health Bar, and The Relaxing Zone – and introduces some innovative seating and dining concepts. Furthermore, lounge guests can use one of 21 Wi-Fi enabled iPads, pre-loaded with apps such as newspapers, magazines and games, and unlimited Wi-Fi internet is accessible through the lounge, without the need for a password. 

Cathay Solus Chair
A main feature of The Cabin is the new ‘Cathay Solus Chair’ – a futuristic bubble-like chair, which provides each person with a private space to eat, work and relax. The purpose-built unit consists of a small built-in table, coat hanger and power outlet, and each chair is hand finished by Poltrona Frau in Italy. In total there are 41 Solus chairs available in the entire lounge. 

IT Zone
The IT Zone consists of two sections: the main area and an IT room. The main area is equipped with 21 Solus Chairs, 21 iPads and a ‘Techno Bar’ with 6 iMacs, as well as plenty of power outlets. The entire back wall is made of glass with LED lighting that pulsates every half an hour to help passengers keep track of the time. The IT room has 11 private workspaces, each equipped with an iMac, a printer and a telephone. The walls are lined with either reflective white glass or sound-absorbent leather panels. There is also a meeting room with videoconferencing facilities. Read full article »

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Cathay Pacific customizes iPhone app for the iPad

On the same day (23 July) the Apple iPad went on sale in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific launched one of the world’s first customised airline applications for the device. In April 2009, Cathay Pacific also was one of the first airlines to develop its ‘CX Mobile’ application for multiple mobile platforms, such as BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, besides the iPhone. In addition to the functionality of the existing CX Mobile app, the iPad application now also enables users to make bookings for their Cathay Pacific flights from the device. 

The iPad app also provides users with flight schedule information and lets them manage their flight booking, check the status of their flight, and check-in. The CX Mobile app provides information on the airline’s frequent flyer program, and contains more than 70 Cathay ‘City Guides’, as well as the airline’s latest ‘Meet the Team’ advertising campaign, which stars real Cathay Pacific staff instead of actors. Read full article »

Schiphol Airport teams up with Philips to develop ‘ambient gate’

Amsterdam Schiphol has opened a new gate at the airport’s G-Pier that is intended to make the time passengers spend just before departure as pleasant as possible. The so-called ‘Innovative Gate’ resulted from a collaborative venture between Schiphol and a large number of other parties. Philips played a key role by providing its expertise in creating ‘ambient experiences’, which basically make use of a play of different lighting fixtures, effects and colors to create different moods. The new 700m2 gate features 1,000 fluorescent LED lamps. 

Mood lighting, ‘living magazines’,  innovative seating
When passengers approach the gate, the gate is lighted using the airline’s colours and large billboards positioned at the gate entrance display photos or videos of the destination alongside flight information. A reception desk lets airlines welcome passengers, and the pre-waiting area offers different furniture elements, such as work desks for business travellers, group seats, and individual seats with enhanced privacy. The waiting area also features number of large video screens (called ‘living magazines’ by Schiphol) that show infotainment programmes. Cathay Pacific will be the first airline to use the new gate. Read full article »

Hong Kong Airport opens new SkyPier ferry transfer terminal

Air-to-rail links have been gaining ground across Europe in the past decades. Airlines such as Lufthansa, SwissAir France, and KLM have agreements with train operators to provide ‘intermodal’ journeys, which combine a flight and train travel, often in one ticket. In this way, the train effectively works as a feeder service for the airline to feed passenger to its hub airport.

On a similar note, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has just opened the SkyPier, a new cross-boundary ferry terminal that provides high-speed ferry services for transit passengers to and from the Pearl River Delta, home to around 60 million people. The SkyPier ferry service is for transit passengers only. Currently, high-speed ferries make an average of 85 trips everyday, shuttling around 5,000 passengers between HKIA and eight ports in the Pearl River Delta and Macao, including Zhongshan, Zhuhai Jiuzhou, Dongguan Humen, Guangzhou Nansha, Shenzhen Shekou and Shenzhen Fuyong as well as Macao’s Taipa and Maritime Ferry Terminal. A temporary SkyPier opened in 2003 and served almost 10 million passengers. The new 16,500-sqm permanent SkyPier is eight times the size of the temporary facility, and designed with a maximum capacity for 8 million annual passengers. 
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Cathay Pacific’s ‘I Can Fly’ course teaches young people the basics of aviation

Cathay Pacific’s ‘I Can Fly’ program is dedicated to teaching young people between 15 and 18 years old, and who are interested in aviation, the basics of the industry at no cost. ‘I Can Fly’ was launched in 2003 and every other year, several courses are organized, with 3,000 ‘students’ participating to date in Hong Kong. The carrier has just announced the fourth ‘I Can Fly’ series, which will start in February 2010. Hong Kong youth can apply until 25th December of this year, and 100 participants will be selected.

Enrolling in the ‘I Can Fly’ program is by no means a free ride. The course runs for nine weeks, with once-a-week nightly classes, and includes airport visits, one weekend of community service, and workshops with staff from Cathay’s engineering, flight control, marketing and catering departments, as well as pilots and cabin crew. As part of Cathay’s community program, Cathay Pacific staff volunteer their time to the course.
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