American Roy C Farrell and Australian Sydney H de Kantzow founded Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong on 24 September, 1946. Initially based in Shanghai, the two men eventually moved to Hong Kong and founded Cathay Pacific Airways. Legend has it that Farrell and a group of foreign correspondents thought up the airline's unique name in the bar at the Manila Hotel!
The new company began to operate passenger flights to Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai. Expansion was fast and, in 1948, one of Hong Kong's leading trading companies, Butterfield & Swire (today known as the Swire Group) took a 45% share in the company. Under the leadership of John Kidston Swire, Butterfield & Swire became wholly responsible for the management of the airline.
The 1960s represented our coming of age. Between 1962 and 1967, business grew at an average rate of 20 percent a year. We also initiated international services (another world's first) to Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya in Japan.
In the early 1970s, we started to make use of the latest technology with our computerized reservation system and flight simulators. The first Boeing 747-200 arrived in Hong Kong in mid-1979, and by the end of the year, we had applied for traffic rights to start flying to London. As more B747's joined our fleet, we expanded our services to Europe and North America.
The 1980s was a spectacular decade for the airline industry. Amidst a worldwide economic boom - spearheaded by Asia, more business travellers, tourists and cargo were flying than ever before. It was during this decade that we expanded our international network to include London, Brisbane, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Rome, San Francisco, Paris, Zurich and Manchester.
The early 90s was a difficult time for the airline industry. Nonetheless, we remained positive, safe in the knowledge that Hong Kong – our home, was arguably the best location in the world for an airline. At the same time, we launched a new programme to offer unprecedented levels of passenger service. We also made another important decision – changing our green and white striped livery to the dynamic and now famous Asian "brushstroke" image.
By the mid-1990s, we had assembled a fleet of aircraft that was among the youngest in the world, while our replacement programme involved orders and options for US$9 billion in new aircraft – all of which were to create a fleet that is younger and quieter.
While our passenger services continued to grow from strength to strength, the cargo division was playing an increasingly vital role in the company's growth and expansion. Today, our cargo services contribute almost 30 percent of our revenue.
Cathay Pacific City, our headquarters located at Hong Kong International Airport, was completed in the middle of 1999. The new complex represents the confidence we have in our future and that of Hong Kong.
Rising to the challenges presented by the new millennium, we are making the most of recent advances in technology and communication. Chief among those is the Internet, which provides passengers with a variety of special services - all geared towards greater flying convenience. Because, at Cathay Pacific, we don't just wait for the future. We embrace it.
Information obtained from Cathay Pacific. For more information, please contact the airline or surf to their website at the Homepage address below.