American Roy C Farrell and Australian Sydney H de Kantzow founded Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong on September 24, 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.
Cathay Pacific has been serving and growing with Hong Kong for 60 years. They started with one aircraft, and two founders who each put up HK$1 to register the company in Hong Kong.
"Betsy", a converted Douglas DC3, is fondly remembered as their first aircraft. Sold in 1955, "Betsy" was discovered, almost 30 years later flying cargo around the Australian outback.
They bought the aircraft back, repainted her in the original 1940s livery and returned her to Hong Kong.
Today, "Betsy" hangs suspended from the ceiling at the Hong Kong Science Museum.
The 1960s represented the coming of age. Between 1962 and 1967, business grew at an average rate of 20 percent a year. They also initiated international services (another world's first) to Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya in Japan.
Today Cathay Pacific Airways owns more than 100 aircraft, employs over 23,000 people and has thousands of Hong Kong shareholders with a stake in the airline. As the airline of Hong Kong, they continue to invest in the city, its people and the community.
Continued investment to expand the fleet and network strengthens Hong Kong as a global aviation hub.
Every month, Cathay Pacific carries about 1.3 million people to and through Hong Kong. Making more than 1,600 departures every week, they connect passengers to more than 90 destinations around the world.
Every year, the airline carries over one million tonnes of freight, making Cathay Pacific Airways the world’s fifth-largest cargo airline by volume.
With the combined coverage of airlines in the oneworld alliance, of which Cathay Pacific was a co-founder, travellers from more than 600 cities can connect to Hong Kong.
The fleet of all wide-body aircraft is one of the youngest and most modern in the skies. They have made their biggest ever commitment for new aircraft with orders for 16 long-range Boeing 777-300Ers and purchase rights for 20 more. They also ordered three Airbus 330-300s.
By 2010, Cathay Pacific will operate 125 aircraft - 133 including their sister cargo carrier Air Hong Kong.
Air Hong Kong is Asia’s first and only dedicated express cargo airline. Its fleet of eight freighter aircraft is building Hong Kong into a regional express-parcels hub.
Cathay Pacific is a home-grown Hong Kong brand with a world-wide reputation for excellence. They are continually inspired by the enterprising spirit, vitality and determination of the Hong Kong people to always improve.