Aircraft cabin harmony

Cathay Pacific

The brief

With 22 A350-900 XWB aircraft ordered, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways issued a request for proposal (RFP), in 2013, for the design of its brand new long-haul fleet. Tangerine won the project to create the cabin colour and trim for the whole aircraft, as well as design the entire Economy Class, including the seating. The challenge was to set a creative direction for the cabin interiors, which extends Cathay Pacific’s brand expression, and to innovate in Economy Class to provide the best possible passenger experience.


Key insights

Tangerine’s vision for the cabin interior environment was to capture the magic and “wow” of Hong Kong, playing with the contrast between the city and the countryside.  “We wanted to infuse traditional Hong Kong influences with the extraordinary contrast of the city’s fast-paced modern vibe,” says Emma Partridge, tangerine CMF Consultant. “This juxtaposition is harmonised across all of the finishes and soft furnishings, throughout the whole cabin interior.”

Traditionally there is not much for passengers to get excited about when it comes to flying long-haul in coach. However, economy class travellers still desire; a comfortable seat, a secure and convenient place to store their valuables, flexible entertainment options and a good night’s sleep. Passengers are increasingly more discerning in their pursuit of this. With 214 of the A350-900’s 280 seats dedicated to Economy Class, tangerine had to think strategically, and use an exhaustive attention to detail to find the right solution for Cathay Pacific’s customers. 


The solution

Interior finishes are inspired by Asian minimalist tradition. As an example, the laminates on the bulkhead features an embossed irregular-striped pattern that is evocative of bamboo, complementing the natural textured finishes that are incorporated throughout the interior across all classes.


Green is an essential colour palette for Cathay Pacific’s brand and three shades of green are used to distinguish each row of economy seating.


Driven by research into passenger’s habits and needs, tangerine created innovative design solutions that improve Economy Class passenger experience.


“We created a proprietary designed six-way headrest especially for Cathay Pacific’s economy seating,” says tangerine CEO, Martin Darbyshire. “This unique innovation provides significantly improved lateral support, which is crucial for rest and sleep when seated in an upright or recline position.” The growing BYOD on-board trend is catered for with a ‘back pack’ integrated into the seat-back. This combined shelf and storage area provides; somewhere to place tablets and other devices, stowage for small personal belongings and a drinks holder, all in one place.


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