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Cathay Pacific
A major, landmark project realised from branding outwards, which transformed the entire Cathay Pacific fleet and influenced a generation of airline cabin designs.
Cathay Pacific
  • Project launched in 2011
A globally significant project for a globally important airline

Having won this highly prestigious contract for one of the world’s leading airline brands, we were tasked to create a class-leading new look across the board. The brief included Cathay Pacific’s Business and Economy classes, plus the regional Dragon Air airline, and involved working alongside Cathay to launch its very first Premium Economy offering.

Designed to create the ultimate customer-friendly spaces and improve the airline’s passenger experience still further, the project pulled together a number of different disciplines, and introduced our mould-breaking reverse-herringbone cabin layout.

After a two and a half year process involving meticulous attention to detail, the amazingly successful outcome propelled an already major brand into the global airlines super-league, ultimately influencing how other airlines have since approached similar challenges with their own cabin designs.

Raising the bar - the best-in-class Business Class cabin

Creating the ultimate Business Class experience for Cathay Pacific customers began with JPA’s breakthrough reverse-herringbone cabin layout. It was a leap forward that came to perfect fruition with ingenious seat engineering, astute ergonomics and carefully researched and realised CMF design. The result was to move an already impressive offering right to the top of Business Class travellers’ wish lists worldwide. For passengers the outcome ticked every important box: a fully lie-flat bed, direct access to the aisle, more space, with more privacy, a window view for everyone seated on the outboard seats, and more opportunity to interact with a travelling companion on the central pairings. This configuration is now seen as the benchmark in Business cabins worldwide. A bar-raiser for both passenger expectations and the wider airline design industry ever since.

Textured rear shell laminate in Business Class seat a bespoke creation for Cathay.
A new category for Cathay - Premium Economy

 JPA’s collaboration with Cathay Pacific extended to a re-style of its Economy Class and the development of the airline’s first foray into a Premium Economy offering. Economy saw a whole new level of attention to detail and design that included higher- than-usual-spec Zodiac seats.  JPA also helped Cathay Pacific develop and launch its brand new Premium Economy offering.  Both classes benefited from a multi-class approach from Business Class downwards,  in which we re-designed the seats for all classes from scratch, creating bespoke colour and trim design that individualises each of them, yet keeps a shared level of quality and consistency throughout .

Colour palette creates link between Business Class and premium Economy, resulting in an aspirational experience for Premium Economy passengers.
Colour and finish: regional inspiration played out in a ‘Lounge to Cabin’ approach.

Colour, materials and finish played a key role in the look and feel of Cathay’s new premium cabins. Our inspiration was both the dynamism of Asia and its warm and welcoming traditions, and we aimed to bring the same sophisticated but hospitable atmosphere of the lounge onto the plane, with our pioneering ‘Lounge To Cabin’ approach. A carefully considered colour palette with countless detail touches inspired by the Pacific Region was chosen to create a soothing environment against the vibrant tones of the cabin crew’s uniforms and other splashes of colour in lounge and cabin.

Alex McGowan
Cathay Pacific’s Head of Product (2011)
We set JPA a challenging brief – to design a business cabin consistent with our vision to be the world’s best airline and our mission to provide outstanding products and services. What impressed us most was how they were able to create big ideas, obsess about the smallest detail and then deliver both to our timescales. Throughout the development process JPA was an integral part of our team.

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