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Founded 1946

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Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline's operations include scheduled passenger and cargo services to 168 destinations in 42 countries worldwide, codeshares, and joint ventures, with a fleet of wide-body aircraft, consisting of Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Dragonair, operates to 44 destinations in the Asia-Pacific region from its Hong Kong base. In 2010, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried nearly 27 million passengers and over 1.8 million tonnes of cargo and mail.

The airline was founded on 24 September 1946 by Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow and American Roy C. Farrell, with each man putting up HK$1 to register the airline. The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998, which was also the maiden flight to arrive at then time, the new Hong Kong International Airport. The airline celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006; and as of October 2009, its major shareholders are Swire Pacific and Air China. It is reciprocally one of the major shareholders of Air China. Cathay Pacific currently holds the title of the world's third largest airline, measured in terms of market capitalisation, according to the International Air Transport Association. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international cargo airline, along with main hub Hong Kong International Airport as the world's busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic.

Cathay Pacific is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, with its subsidiary, Dragonair, as an affiliate member.

Cathay Pacific was awarded Skytrax's 2014 Airline of the Year. Cathay Pacific has won the 'World's Best Airline' award for the fourth time, more than any other airline.

Cathay Pacific was founded in Shanghai on 24 September 1946 by Australian Sydney de Kantzow and American Roy Farrell. Both men were ex-air force pilots who had flown the Hump, a route over the Himalayan mountains. Each man put up HK$1 to register the airline. Although initially based in Shanghai, the two men moved to Hong Kong where they formally began Cathay Pacific. They named it Cathay, the ancient name given to China, and Pacific because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific (which happened in the 1970s). The Chinese name for the company "國泰" comes from a Chinese idiom meaning "grand and peaceful state".

According to legend, the airline's unique name was conceived by Farrell and some foreign correspondents at the bar of the Manila Hotel. On Cathay Pacific's maiden voyage, Farrell and de Kantzow flew from Hong Kong to Manila, and later on to Shanghai. They had a single Douglas DC-3, nicknamed Betsy. The airline initially flew routes between Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, and Canton, while scheduled service was limited to Bangkok, Manila, and Singapore only.

In 1948 Butterfield & Swire (now known as Swire Group) bought 45% of Cathay Pacific, with Australian National Airways taking 35% and Farrell and de Kantzow taking 10% each. The new company began operations on 1 July 1948 and was registered as Cathay Pacific (1948) Ltd on 18 October 1948. Swire later acquired 52% of Cathay Pacific and today the airline is still 45% owned by the Swire Group through Swire Pacific Limited.[11]

1960s, 1970s, and 1980s: Expansion

The airline prospered in late 1950s and into the 1960s by buying its archrival, Hong Kong Airways, on 1 July 1959. Between 1962 and 1967, the airline recorded double digit growth on average every year and the world's first to operate international services to Fukuoka, Nagoya and Osaka in Japan. In 1964, it carried its one millionth passenger and acquired its first jet engine aircraft Convair 880 in 1964.[6][13] In the 1970s, Cathay Pacific installed a computerised reservation system and flight simulators. In 1979, the airline acquired its first Boeing 747 and applied for traffic rights to begin flying to London in 1980, with the first flight on 16 July. Expansion continued into the 1980s, with nonstop service to Vancouver in 1983, with continuing service on to San Francisco in 1986 when an industry-wide boom encouraged route growth to many European and North American centres.On 15 May 1986, the airline went public and was listed in the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

1990s: Rebranding, renewal, and Oneworld
In January 1990, Cathay Pacific and its parent company, Swire Pacific, acquired a significant shareholding in Dragonair, and a 75% stake in cargo airline Air Hong Kong in 1994. During the early 1990s, the airline launched a programme to upgrade its passenger service. The green and white striped livery was replaced with the current "brushwing" livery. In 1994 the airline invested in a new corporate identity, with a 23 million Hong Kong dollar (RM 7.3 million) program to update its image. The fleet was expected to have the new logo within four years.

The airline began a US$9 billion fleet replacement program during the mid-1990s that gave it one of the youngest fleets in the world. In 1996, CITIC Pacific increased its holdings in Cathay Pacific from 10% to 25%, while the Swire Group holding was reduced to 44% as two other Chinese companies, CNAC and CTS, also bought substantial holdings.

On 1 July 1997, the administration of Hong Kong was transferred from the UK to the People's Republic of China. Most of the airline's aircraft were registered in Hong Kong with a registration beginning with "VR". Under the terms of an agreement within the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG), all registrations were changed by December 1997 to the prefix "B" used by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan).[19] Cathay Pacific aircraft formerly carried a painted UK Union Flag on the tail, but these were removed several years before the 1997 takeover.

On 21 May 1998, Cathay Pacific took the first delivery of the Boeing 777-300 at a ceremony in Everett. In 21 September 1998, Cathay Pacific, together with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Qantas, co-founded the Oneworld airline alliance. The airline was hurt by the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, but recorded a record HK$5 billion profit in 2000.

New Hong Kong International Airport and transpolar flights
On Monday, 6 July 1998, at 00:00 HKT, Kai Tak International Airport saw its last commercial departure, Cathay Pacific Flight 251 to London Heathrow Airport, after over 73 years of operation. The next day, Cathay Pacific Flight 889 from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport piloted by Captain Paul Horsting, was the first arrival to the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong. Also onboard was Captain Mike Lowes and First Officer Kelvin Ma.[25] This flight was also the world's first nonstop transpolar flight from New York to Hong Kong. The flight, dubbed Polar One, takes about 16 hours between Hong Kong and New York Kennedy, saving about three to four hours compared to the one stop flight via Vancouver. It is Cathay Pacific's longest nonstop flight, and one of the longest in the world at 8,055 mi (12,963 km).[26]

2000s: Industrial troubles and acquisitions

Cathay Pacific operated three A340-600s from 2002 to 2008.
The 2000s saw Cathay Pacific experience labour relations issues, while completing the acquisition of Dragonair.

On 28 November 2002, the airline took delivery of its first Airbus A340-600 aircraft at a ceremony at the Airbus factory in Toulouse. Cathay Pacific was the launch customer in Asia for the A340-600 and the aircraft was the first of three leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). On 1 December 2005, Cathay Pacific ordered 16 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, four on lease from ILFC, to be delivered between September 2007 and July 2010, plus options on 20 more of the type, two of which were converted to orders on 1 June 2006. The airline also ordered 3 more A330-300 on the same day, with the delivery of the aircraft scheduled for 2008.[28][29][30] On 7 August 2007, Cathay Pacific ordered five more wide-body Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for a total price of about US$1.4 billion, increasing its commitment to a total of 23 of the aircraft type.

The 49ers – employment dispute
In 2001, the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA) launched a "work to rule" campaign to further its campaign for pay improvements and changes to roster scheduling practices. The action involved pilots refusing to work flights that were not scheduled on their roster. Although this alone did not cause extensive disruption, rostered pilots began to call in sick for their flights. Combined with the work to rule campaign, the airline was unable to cover all of its scheduled flights, and cancellations resulted. Cathay Pacific steadfastly refused to negotiate with the HKAOA under threat of industrial action.

On 9 July 2001, reportedly following a comprehensive review of the employment histories of all its pilots, the company fired 49 of its 1,500 pilots. This group became known colloquially as "the 49ers". Nearly half of the fired pilots were captains, representing five percent of the total pilot group. Of the 21 officers of the HKAOA, nine were fired, including four of the seven union negotiators.

On 11 November 2009, 18 of the 49ers succeeded in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance concerning their joint claims for breach of contract, breach of the Employment Ordinance, and defamation.

On 24 December 2010, judges Frank Stock, Susan Kwan, and Johnson Lam of the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment of the lower court to the extent that the claim for wrongful termination of contract was dismissed. The finding that Cathay Pacific wrongly sacked the 18 pilots for their union activities was upheld. The court upheld the defamation claim, but reduced the damages for the defamatory comments made by Cathay Pacific management. The judges also modified the judgment awarding payment of legal costs to the pilots and instead said that they should now pay some of Cathay’s costs.

The pilots were awarded leave on 26 October 2011 to take their case to the Court of Final Appeal. The matter was heard before Hon. Mr. Justices Bokhary, Chan, & Ribeiro who are all Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal. The matters to be decided upon by the Court will concern wrongful termination of contract and the level of damages for defamation. The case was heard by the Court of Final Appeal on 27 August 2012.

On 26 September 2012, 11 years after they were sacked, the 49ers were finally judged to have won the 3 prime issues of their legal case: breach of contract, breach of the Employment Ordinance, and defamation. The Court of Final Appeal agreed with the Court of Appeal's methodology for reducing the defamation damages. However, it reinstated one month's salary for each of the 49ers.

Acquisition and downsizing of Dragonair
On 9 June 2006, the airline underwent a shareholding realignment under which Dragonair became a wholly owned subsidiary but continued to operate under its own brand. Acquiring Dragonair meant gaining more access to the restricted, yet rapidly growing, Mainland China market and more opportunities for sharing of resources. CNAC, and its subsidiary, Air China, acquired a 17.5 percent stake in Cathay Pacific, and the airline doubled its shareholding in Air China to 17.5 percent. CITIC Pacific reduced its shareholding to 17.5 percent and Swire Group reduced its shareholding to 40 percent.

Dragonair had originally planned significant international expansion. It was already operating services to Bangkok and Tokyo, and was to have a dedicated cargo fleet of nine Boeing 747-400BCF aircraft by 2009 operating to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Columbus.[38] It had also acquired three Airbus A330-300 aircraft to commence services to Sydney and Seoul.

Following the acquisition by Cathay Pacific, Dragonair's proposed expansion plans underwent a comprehensive route compatibility analysis with the Cathay network, in an effort to reduce duplication. Dragonair services to Bangkok and Tokyo were terminated, and new services launched to Sendai, Phuket, Manila and Kathmandu. With the merging of similar departments at the two previously separate airlines, some Dragonair staff have had their employment contracts transferred to Cathay Pacific, with the exception of Dragonair Pilots and Cabin Crew and others made redundant due to the efficiencies gained in the merger. This has resulted in an approximately 37 percent decrease in the number of staff contractually employed by Dragonair.

Economic challenges

Boeing 777-300ER (B-KQH) departs London Heathrow Airport, (2014)
To celebrate the airline's 60th anniversary in 2006, a year of road shows named the "Cathay Pacific 60th Anniversary Skyshow" was held where the public could see the developments of the airline, play games, meet some of the airline's staff, and view vintage uniforms. Cathay Pacific also introduced anniversary merchandise and in-flight meals served by famous restaurants in Hong Kong in collaboration with the celebrations.

In June 2008, Cathay Pacific entered into a plea bargain with the United States Department of Justice in respect of antitrust investigations over air cargo price fixing agreements. It was fined US$60 million. The airline has subsequently set up an internal Competition Compliance Office, reporting to chief operating officer John Slosar, to ensure that the Group complies with all relevant competition and antitrust laws in the jurisdiction in which it operates. The breaches for which Cathay Pacific Cargo were being investigated in the U.S. were not illegal under Hong Kong competition law.

In March 2009, the airline reported a record full-year loss of HK$8.56 billion for 2008, which was also the carrier's first since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The record loss included fuel-hedging losses of HK$7.6 billion and a HK$468 million charge for a price-fixing fine in the U.S. It had to scrap its final dividend. The hedging losses were a result of locking in fuel prices at higher than prevailing market price. As of the end of 2008, Cathay Pacific has hedged about half of its fuel needs until the end of 2011. The airline at the time estimated that it would face no further cash costs from the hedges if the average market price stood at US$75, enabling it recoup provisions it made in 2008.

The flattening out of fuel prices resulted in Cathay Pacific recording a paper fuel hedging gain for its half-year reports for 2009. However, as a result of the global economic situation, the Group reported an operating loss. Given the current economic climate, and in line with the steps being taken by other major airlines around the world, the airline has undertaken a comprehensive review of all its routes and operations. This has resulted in frequencies being reduced to certain destinations, ad hoc cancellations on other routes, deferred capital expenditure, parked aircraft and introduced a Special Leave Scheme for staff to conserve money.[45] According to CEO Tony Tyler, the yield from passengers was "hugely down" and the airline had lost "a lot of premium traffic". He noted that it could take 20 passengers in economy to make up for the lost revenue of one fewer first class passenger flying to New York from Hong Kong.

2010s: Current developments
In 2010, the airline set another record high profit, amounting to HK$14.048 billion despite record losses set in the same decade. At the same time, Cathay Pacific had taken delivery of several new aircraft types, including the Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300ER.[47] Tony Tyler left his position as CEO at the airline on 31 March 2010 to pursue his new job at the IATA. Chief operating officer John Slosar had succeeded Tony Tyler as the new CEO. In addition, New Zealand's Commerce Commission had dropped charges against Cathay Pacific concerning the air cargo price fixing agreements.[49] In 2014, the airline underwent the largest network expansion in recent years which included the addition of links to Manchester, Zurich and Boston.

Corporate affairs and identity
Cathay City
Cathay City, the head office at Hong Kong International Airport
Cathay Pacific's head office, Cathay Pacific City, is located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place.[50][51] Cathay Pacific City was scheduled to be built in increments between April and September 1998.[52] The headquarters opened in 1998.[53] Previously the airline's headquarters were at the Swire House, which was a complex in Central named after the airline's parent company.

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]
Cathay Pacific has diversified into related industries and sectors, including ground handling, aviation engineering, inflight catering.[55]

Companies with major Cathay Pacific Group stake include:

Company Type Principal activities Incorporated in Group's Equity Shareholding
(10 March 2010)
Air China Corporate Airline China 29.99%
Air China Cargo Joint Venture Cargo airline China 49%
Air Hong Kong Joint Venture Cargo airline Hong Kong 60%
Dragonair Subsidiary Airline Hong Kong 100%
Cathay Pacific Cargo Subsidiary Cargo airline Hong Kong 100%
Cathay Pacific Catering Services (HK) Limited Subsidiary Catering services Hong Kong 100%
Cathay Pacific Services Limited Subsidiary Cargo Hong Kong 100%
Cathay Pacific Holidays Subsidiary Travel agency Hong Kong 100%
Dragonair Holidays Subsidiary Travel agency Hong Kong 100%
Hong Kong Airport Services Subsidiary Ground handling Hong Kong 100%
Vogue Laundry Service Limited Subsidiary Laundry Hong Kong 100%
China Pacific Laundry Services Joint Venture Laundry Taiwan 45%
VN/CX Catering Services Limited Joint Venture Catering services Vietnam 40%
CLS Catering Services Limited Joint Venture Catering services Canada 30%
Branding[edit]
Branding and publicity efforts have revolved primarily around the staff and passengers of Cathay Pacific. The airline's first campaign focusing on the passenger was "It's the little things that move you". It was followed by an advertising campaign. "Great Service. Great People. Great Fares."[56] In 2011, Cathay Pacific rolled out "People. They make an airline." as their latest motto. It was accompanied by a supplementary website "Meet the Team", which introduced some of the staff through profiles. The flash site revealed many behind-the-scenes stories many of which contain inspiring facts about their career life.[57]

Livery[edit]

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER landing at Hong Kong International Airport
All Cathay Pacific aircraft carry the following livery, logos and trademarks: the "brushwing" livery on the body and on the vertical stabiliser, introduced in the early 1990s; the "Asia's world city" brandline, the Brand Hong Kong logotype and the dragon symbol; the Oneworld logo and the Swire Group logo.[58][59][60]

The brushwing logo consists of a calligraphic stroke against a green background; the stroke is intended to appear like the wing of a bird. The previous logo, consisting of green and white stripes, was in place from the early 1970s until 1994.[18]

Prior to 1997, all Cathay Pacific aircraft carried the British flag on the empennage. After the handover, aircraft carry the Brand Hong Kong logo and with HONG KONG or in Chinese 香港 under or beside the Brand Hong Kong logo instead of using the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) flag. In fact, the HKSAR flag has never appeared on any aircraft.

In October 2014, Cathay Pacific modified their brushwing logo from 1994 to a newer, lighter version. The livery on aircraft, however, will keep its look but it may change in future years.

Destinations[edit]
Further information: Cathay Pacific destinations

Cathay Pacific destinations.
China (passenger flight mainly served by Dragonair, except Beijing and Shanghai)
Cathay Pacific destinations
Cathay Pacific serves 168 destinations in 42 countries and territories on five continents, with a well-developed Asian network. The airline serves a number of gateway cities in North America and Europe, with easy connections with its Oneworld and codeshare partners, American Airlines and British Airways via Los Angeles and London, respectively. In addition, the airline serves 10 French cities via a codeshare partnership with French national rail operator, SNCF, from Paris. The airline also has access to over 17 destinations in China through its subsidiary, Dragonair.[61]

Codeshare agreements[edit]
Cathay Pacific has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[62][63][64]


Vietnam Airlines
WestJet
The airline also has a codeshare agreement with French high speed trains (SNCF) from TGV station at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to ten French cities.[61][67]

Fleet[edit]
Current[edit]
Cathay Pacific operates four-class configurations on most of its Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-300ER fleet, three-class configurations on remaining Boeing 777-300ER, most Airbus A340-300 and all long-haul Airbus A330-300 aircraft, and two-class configurations on all regional-configured aircraft. The Boeing customer code for Cathay Pacific is 67 (e.g. 777-367ER). As of February 2015, the Cathay Pacific passenger fleet comprises the following aircraft:[68][69]

 

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 being cleaned at London Heathrow Airport, a South African Airways wingtip can be seen on the left-hand side of the image
Cleaning a Boeing 747-400 at London Heathrow Airport
On 8 November 2007, Cathay Pacific ordered seven additional Boeing 777-300ERs and 10 747-8F freighters with a list price of US$5.2 billion.[73] In addition, it also took 14 options for the new freighter at that time. This order, if all options are exercised, would make Cathay Pacific the largest operator of 777-300ERs in Asia and largest operator of 747-8Fs in the world.[74] On 6 December 2007, the airline, already the biggest operator of the Airbus A330, placed a firm order for eight more Airbus A330-300 aircraft valued at approximately US$1.7 billion at list prices. Together with the commitment for 17 long-haul passenger aircraft and freighters, the new aircraft took Cathay Pacific Group's fleet size to 200 by 2012. From those 200 aircraft, the airline operates 155 itself, and the rest are used by its subsidiaries.[75]

The airline's CEO, Tony Tyler, stated on 30 October 2007 that the carrier had no plans regarding the purchase of either the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A380 for the time being.[76] On 8 June 2010, the carrier entered talks with both Boeing and Airbus about adding the 787 Dreamliner and/or the Airbus A350 to their fleet, with Tyler reported to have said that the airline was more interested in acquiring smaller, long-range jets that are better suited for carrying cargo, than it is in acquiring either the Boeing 747-8 or the Airbus A380. The twinjet aircraft would allow Cathay Pacific to both add new destinations to its network, and to replace those 747-400s and A340-300s that currently operate on its long-haul routes alongside 777-300ERs.[77] The carrier remained open on a potential purchase of the B747-8 and A380 for long-haul and ultra long-haul routes to Australia, the US and Europe. "Airbus and Boeing have been talking to us, and we will study both the A380 and the 747-8 Intercontinental next year (2012)," Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar told flightglobal Pro.[78]

On 11 March 2009, it was reported that the delivery of two aircraft due in 2008 was delayed after a strike at Boeing. Additionally, the delivery of two 747-8 freighters was pushed back to 2010 amid delays at the planemaker.[44] The delivery positions on new A330-300 and 777-300ER aircraft were deferred due to the economic recession. Cathay Pacific also sent four A340-300 and two 747-400 aircraft to Victorville Airport for storage.[79]

On 4 August 2010, it was confirmed that Cathay Pacific would buy 30 A350-900s and six more 777-300ERs.[80] On 8 March 2011, it was reported that the airline had ordered another 15 A330-300s and 10 777-300ERs. The deal also included two more A350-900s, to be leased from ILFC.[81] On 10 August 2011, Cathay Pacific entered into an agreement with Boeing to purchase four 777-300ER passenger aircraft and eight Boeing 777F Freighters.[82] On 20 January 2012, it was confirmed that Cathay Pacific would buy another six A350-900s.[83] At the 2012 Farnborough Airshow, it was confirmed that Cathay would order 10 A350-1000s and convert 16 A350-900s to the bigger −1000.[84]

Cathay Pacific launched Premium Economy Class on its new 777-300ERs in March 2012. The aircraft feature 40 Business Class, 32 Premium Economy Class and 268 Economy Class seats with the absence of a First Class cabin.[85] Premium Economy Class service on its new A330-300s was available from March 2012; the aircraft are configured with 38 Business Class, 28 Premium Economy Class and 175 Economy Class seats.[86] Premium Economy Class will also be offered on 4-class 777-300ERs and 747-400s from summer 2012.[87][88][89] On 20 December 2013, the airline placed an order for 21 Boeing 777-9X aircraft at a listed price of HK$58 billion.

Cargo[edit]

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8 taxis at John F. Kennedy International Airport. This plane is the 100th Boeing plane ordered by the airline.
Cathay Pacific Cargo operates a fleet of over 20 freighters to more than 40 destinations around the world, in addition to utilising the cargo space on its passenger aircraft. The cargo subsidiary was established in 1981 with a twice-a-week Hong Kong–Frankfurt–London service operated jointly with Lufthansa.[90] The cargo division ranked fifth in the freight category of the 2008 The World's Top 25 Airlines by Air Transport World.[91] Cathay Pacific Cargo handles most of the airlines' passenger cargo. Together with its cargo routes, it serves more than 80 destinations and is able to operate to destinations that are not in the Cathay Pacific passenger network.


Boeing 747-200F at Melbourne Airport (2007).
On 5 October 2005, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter (Boeing 747-400BCF) aircraft that was converted from passenger configuration to a freighter in Xiamen, China. Cathay Pacific Cargo is the launch customer for this aircraft model and it was also the first time Boeing had conducted a major flight test programme outside the United States.[93] On 22 June 2006, the airline ordered six Boeing 747-400ERF freighters, delivered in 2008 and 2009.[94] On 31 October 2011, Cathay Pacific took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8F.[95] Eighteen months after the first delivery, the airline ordered an additional three 747-8F in lieu of the eight 777-200F originally ordered. As part of the agreement, Boeing will re-acquire four 747-400BCF from Cathay Pacific group as well.[96]

On 18 March 2008, Airport Authority Hong Kong (HKAA) awarded Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (CPSL), a wholly owned subsidiary, a non-exclusive 20-year franchise to invest in, design, construct and operate a new air cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), to be built in the cargo area at the airport, close to the existing cargo servicing facilities, with a site area of approximately 10 hectares. The new cargo terminal will be operated by a separate management team in CPSL.[97] On 15 January 2009, CPSL signed a supplementary agreement with the HKAA to defer the completion of its new cargo terminal by a maximum of 24 months to mid-2013, in response to the current market conditions. A non-disclosed compensation amount for the deferral is included in the supplementary agreement.[98] Architecture firm Aedas is designing Cargo Terminal[99]

Special liveries[edit]
In 1997, a Boeing 747-200 (B-HIB) named Spirit of Hong Kong, with a special livery, a big traditional Chinese brushstroke character "家" (means family/home), a traditional Chinese wording "繁榮進步 更創新高" painted on the left side of the aircraft and a wording "The Spirit of Hong Kong 97" painted on the right side of the aircraft, to commemorate the handover of Hong Kong back to China.[100] On 17 January 2000, Spirit of Hong Kong made a return on a Boeing 747-400 (B-HOX) to celebrate the legendary resilience of Hong Kong with a new special livery depicts a young athlete overcoming a series of challenges to reach his goal. A special wording "Same Team. Same Dream." was painted on the left side of the aircraft and a traditional Chinese wording "積極進取 飛越更高理想" was painted on the right side of the aircraft.[101][102][103] On 30 July 2013, Spirit of Hong Kong made another return, this time, on a Boeing 777-300ER (B-KPB). The livery features 110 people who represent the extraordinary spirit of Hong Kong people. The livery also has the wordings "The Spirit of Hong Kong 香港精神號" The livery is actually an online contest held by Cathay Pacific to call on Hong Kong people to submit creative entries that illustrate the true spirit of the city – along with a full-body photograph of themselves. The judging panel then chose 100 winners and 10 champions – and their silhouettes have been painted on the plane.[104][105]

Airbus A330-300 with Progress Hong Kong livery
Airbus A330-300 fuselage livery. This aircraft was named Progress Hong Kong.
On 5 July 2002, a Boeing 747-400 (B-HOY), named Asia's world city, carried a special livery, the "Asia's world city" brandline, the Brand Hong Kong logotype and the dragon symbol, to promote Hong Kong around the world.[106] In January 2008, a new Boeing 777-300ER (B-KPF) was painted in the Asia's world city livery.[107]

On 29 August 2006, the airline took delivery of its 100th aircraft, an Airbus A330-300 with the registration B-LAD. For the aircraft acceptance ceremony in Toulouse, the aircraft was painted in a 100th aircraft livery with a 60th anniversary sticker behind the second doors (2L and 2R), the wording "100th aircraft", and the traditional Chinese wording "進步精神" painted on the rear of the aircraft.[108] The aircraft was named Progress Hong Kong, a name that was chosen from a competition by the staff.[108][109]

In November 2011, Cathay received its second 747-8 Freighter (B-LJA) which was painted in the Hong Kong Trader livery. The livery was designed to commemorate the topping out of the new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal. The name of the livery is taken from Cathay Pacific’s very first 747 freighter which entered the fleet in 1982.

Currently, a total of three Cathay Pacific aircraft are painted in the Oneworld livery to commemorate the alliance's 10th anniversary. On 12 March 2009, Cathay Pacific's first Oneworld aircraft, an Airbus A340-300 (B-HXG), was painted in the new, standard Oneworld livery. An additional aircraft, an Airbus A330-300 (B-HLU), has also been painted in the Oneworld livery while a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER (B-KPL) was painted and delivered on 17 October 2009.[110][111][112]

Fleet History[edit]
Cathay Pacific DC-3 Betsy
Betsy
Since its conception in 1946, the airline had operated many types of aircraft. The first two aircraft were two World War II surplus Douglas DC-3s named Betsy and Niki. Betsy (VR-HDB), the first aircraft for Cathay Pacific, is now a permanent exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum. Niki (VR-HDA) was lost, but a similar DC-3 was purchased as a replacement. It was refurbished and repainted by the airline's Engineering Department and maintenance provider, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company, and it now wears the second Cathay Pacific livery from the late 1940s. This aircraft received Niki's old VR-HDA aircraft registration and is now on public view in the car park outside the Flight Training Centre of Cathay City


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