Cathay Pacific is rolling out 4K wireless IFE on its new A321neos entering service this month. (Panasonic Avionics)
Cathay Pacific Airways has introduced new full cabin 4K ultra-high definition in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens across its new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft, the latest in a series of wireless digital and connectivity upgrades that the Hong Kong-based airline has invested in recently.
The new screens, supplied by Panasonic Avionics, feature Bluetooth audio streaming and have been installed with 11.6-inch personal screens for the A321neo's economy cabins, while business class features 15.6-inch personal screens, according to an Aug. 5 press release.
"We've always aimed to provide our passengers a comparable entertainment experience as what they would find at home. With the large screens and 4K ultra-high-definition viewing experience, passengers may enjoy our curated premium 4K content with their personal Bluetooth wireless headphones. We are determined to continuously elevate our passengers' travel experience, and today, we are marking a milestone with our new A321neo fleet," Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of customer experience and design said in the release.
4K delivers four times the resolution of a 1080p (HD) TV, according to a September 2019 Avionics International article analyzing early adoption of the technology, and Cathay has become the latest in a number of Asia Pacific-based airlines to introduce the higher resolution screens that have expanded in popularity on premium consumer products. Although others in the region, such as All Nippon Airways' fleet of Boeing 777-300ER, have limited its deployment to business class cabins or a select number of aircraft within their fleet.
Introduction of 4K IFE screens on their A321neo fleet is the latest digital cabin experience technology investment by Cathay Pacific, which is also transitioning to the Panasonic Avionics next-generation extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) in-flight connectivity (IFC) service that is being deployed in the Asia Pacific region. The first XTS satellite went live in February.
Cathay is also started rolling out a new in-flight Wi-Fi portal supplied by Deutsche Telekom designed to streamline in-flight Wi-Fi login, payment system, and sign-on process for passengers under a deal announced in October 2020. The portal is enabled by a software development kit being added to their A350, 777, and A330 fleet.
“Cathay Pacific has been a strategic and highly valued airline customer of Panasonic Avionics for many years. We are thrilled to help them take their passenger experience to the next level with the introduction of 4K content using our NEXT IFE system," Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics said in a statement.
Cathay's first 4K-equipped A321neo entered commercial passenger-carrying service on Aug. 4. The airline will have a total of 16 A321neos in its fleet by the end of 2023.