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Cathay Pacific’s A350 now boarding |

Travel and Tourism

Cathay Pacific’s A350 now boarding

The Philippine Star

HONG KONG, May 30 —  Foreign journalists from around the world, me included, are brimming with excitement as they’re ferried by coach to Hong Kong International Airport and whisked into the hangar of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) where Cathay Pacific Airways’ first Airbus A350-900XWB sits in all its shimmering glory. It’s the newest “baby” in CX’s growing modern family of aircraft. And boy, what a baby!

Consider A350’s following features:

• XWB stands for extra wide body. The latest generation of Airbus XWB sets new performance standards. Imagine flying some 8,000 nautical miles nonstop! This will enable CX to operate across its route network, with nonstop flights to Europe and North America.

• It’s equipped with the latest cabin products, including new seats. Think 280 seats: 38 Business Class, 28 Premium Economy, and 214 Economy.

Business Class, along with its fully flat bed, has new features that include extra stowage space within easy reach and the personal service offered by the “Do Not Disturb” and “Wake Up Call” function in the entertainment system.

The Premium Economy Class and Economy Class also boast new features, such as dedicated tablet holders (a lot of passengers do carry one, so now you have a safe place to keep it while in flight) and exclusive power outlets and USB ports. Plus the six-way headrest in Economy Class provides better support and sleeping comfort.

Setting the gold standard, the Premium Economy Class now has full-length leg rest with seat pitch increased to 40.” Also for the first time, CX is introducing its dimmable personal reading light on Premium Economy to enable passengers to do some reading or work without disturbing the others.

Tea for two: The Pier lounge boasts its cozy Teahouse.

• Interactive features broaden inflight entertainment options for passengers, along with a wider screen in all classes. And for the first time in a CX aircraft, connectivity is installed so you can, for a fee, browse the Internet, send and receive emails, and stay connected on social media. But of course, access to the CX website, a number of partner websites, and three live TV news channels is free of charge.

• Hear this: Truly designed for passenger comfort and well-being, A350 has 50-percent quieter cabin than can be found anywhere so you can’t hear the droning of the engine and the aircon (or maybe even the snoring of your seatmate). With the latest generation of aerodynamic design, A350 has got the lowest interior cabin and exterior noise levels in its class. Now you can sleep in heavenly bliss.

More, LED cabin mood lighting simulates different colors (maybe like a soothing evening) to give a relaxed cabin ambience and help reduce jet lag.

Wide panoramic windows give the cabin a lighter and more spacious feel. Flatter, more vertical sidewalls provide window seat passengers with more shoulder level space.

Cabin air filters plus ozone removers deliver pure fresh air while advanced cabin airconditioning supplies draft-free and temperature-stable conditioned air for increased level of comfort.

Higher cabin pressure supplies more oxygen to lower the effective cabin cruising altitude from 8,000 feet on current aircraft types to 6,000 feet on A350, thus reducing passenger fatigue and improving well-being.

And there’s a lot more: Generous luggage space is now available in the largest overhead bins you can find on any airline.

CX COO Rupert Hogg: A350 has been designed with the passengers’ comfort and well-being in mind.

• It’s designed for efficiency. Some 70 percent of the aircraft is made of composite carbon fiber, high-strength titanium, and the latest blends of aluminum alloys, resulting in a lighter aircraft with lower fuel burn and an airframe that’s highly resistant to corrosion and fatigue, thus entailing less maintenance.

• Powered by the latest generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, A350 is the quietest in its class and also 25-percent more fuel efficient. It produces 25-percent lower carbon emissions than the current wide body aircraft engines.

• The lightweight but extremely strong carbon fiber wing adapts its shape in flight to maximize its aerodynamic efficiency. This results in greater lift, less drag, and less fuel burn. It also allows for higher cruise speed with reduced flight time.

“We understand that for our passengers, sleeping well, enjoying first-class entertainment and using products that have been designed with them in mind are of the utmost importance. The new A350 will provide the very best of all these,” says Cathay Pacific chief operating officer Rupert Hogg. “The lower cabin pressure and noise levels combine with our new features to set passengers up for the best sleeping experience possible in the skies. We have gone all out to provide the best inflight entertainment, too. All seats come with the latest high-definition touchscreen personal TVs and a greater selection of movies, TV, live news channels, and music. Inflight Wi-Fi is also available to connect passengers to family, work, and world events, if they choose. We could not be more excited with what we’ve seen so far of the A350 and I’m sure our passengers will feel the same way once they step on board.”

Hogg adds, “This superbly efficient aircraft will help us further expand our global network and strengthen Hong Kong’s reputation as an international aviation hub, helping to oil the wheels of commerce and trade in our home city.”

Walking us through the aircraft’s features are CX corporate affairs director James Tong, product general manager Leslie Lu, and A350 project head Robert Taylor who has, with his hardworking team, “been living and breathing this aircraft for the last three years.” Taylor likens A350, loaded as it is with new design features and the latest technologies, to a step up from a double-deck bus to a high-performance sports car.

Cathay Pacific has a total of 48 A350XWBs on order with 22 A350-900s to be delivered in 2016 and 2017, followed by 26 A350-1000s between 2018 and 2020.

Indeed, for Cathay Pacific, sky’s no limit as it promises a life well traveled for passengers. And that starts on the ground as CX continues to improve its First and Business Class lounges. Take, for instance, The Pier, CX First and Business Class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. The Pier went through a major refurbishment last year and now sports a fresh look designed by Studioilse, a London-based design studio. Located at Gate 65, North West concourse of Hong Kong International Airport, The Pier’s new Business Class lounge now covers all of 3,306 square meters — 1,000 sq. m. bigger than the old lounge — and can seat up to 550 people. Picture Hong Kong’s vibrant street life, though a bit more luxurious. Walk down the street and revel in the assorted gustatory delights. There’s the Food Hall for freshly cooked food, baked goodies, salads, tapas, etc. For your caffeine fix, there’s the Coffee Cart for freshly brewed coffee. The Bar has a wide range of wines, cocktails and spirits to keep you in high spirits. The Noodle Bar is an iconic feature of worldwide lounges of Cathay Pacific offering Dan Dan and Wonton noodles, Chinese dumplings and buns — the ultimate comfort food to fill the tummy and warm the heart. The Teahouse is a quiet place to sit and sip tea (you can choose from 10 teas plus one seasonal tea) after a refreshing shower before catching one’s flight.

In addition, there are 23 Solo Chairs, each equipped with a built-in reading lamp and side table for working or relaxing.

All aboard: Cathay Pacific Airways’ crew, headed by Captain Gavin Haslemore, welcomes the arrival of A350-900 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. The new generation aircraft is the first of 48 A350s scheduled to be delivered to Cathay Pacific.

Finally, there’s the Relaxation Room with its transcendental, almost monastic, ambience that can transport you to a different place. Here, you can have a most needed shuteye, just make sure you don’t oversleep and miss your flight.

MANILA, June 1 — Excitement soars as people await the arrival of A350-900. On a balmy Wednesday, A350  makes its historic inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Manila, touching down at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 9:45 a.m.

Cathay Pacific could not have chosen a more auspicious place for the maiden flight of A350. After all, it was in Manila (specifically in a bar at Manila Hotel) that Roy C. Farrell and a group of foreign correspondents thought up the name Cathay Pacific Airways and the rest is aviation history.

Welcome aboard Cathay Pacific Airways’ A350-900XWB and have the flight of your life!

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