Cathay Pacific

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cathay Pacific
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded24 September 1946
HubsHong Kong International Airport
Frequent-flyer programCathay
Parent companySwire Pacific

Cathay Pacific Limited is an airline based in Hong Kong. It transports passengers and cargo to over 120 cities world-wide. Its main base and hub is at Hong Kong International Airport. It is one of the six airlines in the world to get a five star rating from Skytrax. It won "Airline of the Year" award from Skytrax in 2003, 2005 and 2009. Its sister airline is Dragon air which serves destinations in mainland China and Asia. Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of Airbus A321, Airbus A321NEO, Airbus A330, Airbus A350 and Boeing 777. While Cathay Pacific Cargo uses 2 different models of the Boeing 747. The airline was created on the 24th of September in 1946, by Sydney H. de Kantzow and Roy C. Farrell. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Pacific Cargo, together with Dragonair, carried nearly 27 million passengers and over 1.8 million tons of cargo and mail. Cathay Pacific is also one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance.

History[change | change source]

1946–1960: The early years[change | change source]

Betsy, A Douglas DC-3, Cathay Pacific's first aircraft.

Cathay Pacific was founded on the 24th of September in 1946 in Hong Kong by Sydney H. de Kantzow and Roy C. Farrell. Farrel bought the company the first Douglas DC-3, Nicknamed Betsy. They began by transporting cargo from Sydney to Shanghai on the 28th of January 1946. On the 11th of May 1946 they changed their route from Sydney to Shanghai to Sydney to Hong Kong, after China kept detaining the aircraft. Farrell and de Kantzow re-registered their business in Hong Kong on the 24th of September 1946 as Cathay Pacific Airways. They named the airline Cathay, because it was the ancient name given to China by the Europeans. The airline grew very fast. By 1947, it had 7 Douglas DC-3s and 2 Vickers Catalina seaplanes.

1960–1990: Expansion[change | change source]

A Cathay Pacific Convair 880 in flight

The airline prospered in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, and it purchased its then main rival, Hong Kong Airways, on the 1st of July 1959. In 1964, it carried its one millionth passenger and acquired its first jet engine aircraft, the Convair 880. In 1967, it became an all jet airline with the replacement of its last Lockheed L-188 Electra with a Convair 880. In 1971, Cathay Pacific Airways received the first Boeing aircraft 707-320B. By 1972 it had five 707s. In July 1976 it began operating a Boeing 707 freighter from Hong Kong to Seoul, Bangkok and Singapore. In 1974 Cathay Pacific planned a route from Hong Kong to London. with a Boeing 747. In 1979, Cathay Pacific received its first Boeing 747 and used it for the route. The first flight on this route took place on the 16th of July in 1979. In 1982, Cathay Pacific Airways introduced Cathay Pacific Cargo.

1990–2000: Rebranding, renewal, and Oneworld[change | change source]

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-200

In the mid 90s, Cathay Pacific began a fleet replacement, which had a total cost of US$9 billion. On the 21st of May 1998, Cathay Pacific took the first delivery of the Boeing 777-300. On 21 September 1998, Cathay Pacific, together with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Qantas, co-founded Oneworld airline alliance. Cathay Pacific recorded a record HK$5 billion profit in 2000.

Transfer to Chek Lap Kok and transpolar flights[change | change source]

On Monday, the 6th of July 1998, Cathay Pacific terminated flights from Kai Tak International Airport to London Heathrow Airport after over 73 years of operation. The next day, Cathay Pacific began flights from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport to the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok. This flight was also the world's first nonstop transpolar flight from New York to Hong Kong.

A Cathay Pacific Cargo Boeing 747-867F

2000–2010: Industrial troubles and acquisitions[change | change source]

In 2000 Cathay Pacific, experience labour relations issues while completing the acquisition of Dragonair.

The 49ers – employment dispute[change | change source]

On 9 July 2001, reportedly following a review of the employment histories of all its pilots, the company fired 49 of its 1,500 pilots. This group became known as "the 49ers". Nearly half of the fired pilots were captains, representing five percent of the total pilots.

Acquisition and downsizing of Dragonair[change | change source]

A Dragon Air A320-200

On 28 September 2006, Cathay Pacific underwent a shareholding realignment under which Dragonair became an owned subsidiary but continued to operate under its brand. In January 2016, Cathay Pacific announced it was rebranding Dragonair as Cathay Dragon. On 21 October 2020, Cathay Pacific announced that it would shut down all operations of Cathay Dragon and merge it with its parent company due to the lack of customers and heavy economic problems brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. This merger marked the end for the subsidiary carrier after 35 years of operation.

Economic challenges[change | change source]

To celebrate the airline's 60th anniversary in 2006, a year of roadshows named the "Cathay Pacific 60th Anniversary Skyshow" was held where the public could see the developments of the airline. 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.

Current developments[change | change source]

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330

In 2010, the airline set another record high profit, amounting to HK$14.05 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. Tony Tyler left his position as CEO at the airline on 31 March 2010. Chief operating officer John Slosar had succeeded as the new CEO. On 8 October 2016, Cathay Pacific retired their last passenger Boeing 747 with a farewell scenic flight around Hong Kong after over 35 years of service of the type. Cathay operated the 747 since August 1979, when it was on services to Australia.

2018 data breach[change | change source]

In 2018, the airline discovered a data breach. Data of around 9.4 million passengers were compromised during the breach, with 860,000 passport numbers, 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, 403 expired credit card numbers, and 27 credit card numbers without CVV being accessed. No passwords were stolen. The breach was suspected in March 2018 but was confirmed only in May 2018. In March 2020, the company was fined £500,000 (U.S. $639,600) by the British Information Commissioner's Office.

2017-2019 transformation[change | change source]

Under new leadership, the airline started to transform its business after suffering from 2 years of consecutive loss. The strategy focuses on 5Ps – Places, Planes, Product, People, and Productivity to find new sources of revenue, deliver more value to its customers and improve efficiency and productivity. It has launched 13 new routes since 2017, introduced a wide range of changes to its service, including bringing back hot meals on its most busy route between Hong Kong and Taipei. The airline has also invested significantly in other hard product and digital offerings such as an upgraded website, new or refurbished lounges across its network, including the first airline lounge yoga studio. Wi-Fi was introduced in 2017 and will be retrofitted across its fleet by 2020.

Acquisition of HK Express[change | change source]

On 27 March 2019, Cathay Pacific officially announced it would acquire HK Express, the only low-cost carrier in Hong Kong. It cost Cathay Pacific in total HK$4.93 billion.

Hong Kong protests[change | change source]

During the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, Cathay Pacific employees participated in protests at Hong Kong International Airport. The Beijing government, which is a shareholder in Cathay Pacific, ordered Cathay to suspend any employees who participated in the protest. Cathay Pacific later suspended a pilot who was arrested during a protest.

COVID-19[change | change source]

The COVID-19 pandemic led to travel bans and significantly reduced flight demands, which caused Cathay Pacific to cut international flights in response. In 2020, 96% of all flights from March to May were cancelled, while the group's subsidiary HK Express suspended all flight operations from 23 March to 30 April 2020, due to reduced demand. At one point during the crisis, only 582 passengers flew with Cathay Pacific in an entire day.

In December 2020, the company said that it expected losses in the second half higher than the losses of the first half due to low demand, restructuring charges and impairments on its fleet.

In 2021, the company posted a record annual loss of $2.8 billion for 2020. It was also announced that the company would cut an additional 8,500 jobs.

In June 2021, the company said that losses in 2021 are expected to be lower than US$1.27 billion in 2020, due to cost-saving measures and strong demand for cargo flights.

Recapitalisation and government bailout[change | change source]

On 9 June 2020, Cathay Pacific, Swire Pacific and Air China halted stock trade pending the announcement. On 10 June, Cathay Pacific and the Government of Hong Kong jointly announced a HK$39 billion recapitalization plan and rescue package for Cathay Pacific.

Destinations[change | change source]

As of December 2022, Cathay Pacific serves 74 destinations including charter and cargo services, in 29 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

Country/region City Airport Notes
Australia Adelaide Adelaide Airport Terminated
Brisbane Brisbane Airport Passenger
Cairns Cairns Airport Terminated
Melbourne Melbourne Airport Passenger + Cargo
Perth Perth Airport Passenger
Sydney Sydney Airport Passenger + Cargo
Toowoomba Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport Cargo
Bahrain Manama Bahrain International Airport Terminated
Bangladesh Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Belgium Brussels Brussels Airport Terminated
Cambodia Phnom Penh Phnom Penh International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Canada Calgary Calgary International Airport Cargo
Toronto Toronto Pearson International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Vancouver Vancouver International Airport Passenger
China Beijing Beijing Capital International Airport Passenger
Chengdu Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Chongqing Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Fuzhou Fuzhou Changle International Airport Passenger
Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Passenger
Haikou Haikou Meilan International Airport Terminated
Hangzhou Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Passenger
Nanjing Nanjing Lukou International Airport Passenger
Ningbo Ningbo Lishe International Airport Terminated
Qingdao Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport Passenger
Qingdao Liuting International Airport Airport Closed
Sanya Sanya Phoenix International Airport Terminated
Shanghai Shanghai Pudong International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Wenzhou Wenzhou Yongqiang International Airport Resumes 20 February 2023
Wuhan Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Passenger
Xiamen Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Xi'an Xi'an Xianyang International Airport Passenger
Zhengzhou Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Denmark Copenhagen Copenhagen Airport Terminated
France Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Passenger + Cargo
Germany Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Airport Terminated
Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport Passenger + Cargo
Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport Template:Airline hub
Kai Tak Airport Airport Closed
India Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Chennai Chennai International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Cargo
Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Cargo
Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Indonesia Denpasar I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport Passenger
Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Surabaya Juanda International Airport Passenger
Ireland Dublin Dublin Airport Terminated
Israel Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport Passenger
Italy Milan Milan Malpensa Airport Passenger + Cargo
Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport Terminated
Japan Fukuoka Fukuoka Airport Passenger
Komatsu Komatsu Airport Terminated
Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport Passenger
Naha Naha Airport Terminated
Osaka Kansai International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Sapporo New Chitose Airport Passenger
Tokyo Haneda Airport Passenger
Narita International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur International Airport Passenger
Penang Penang International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Maldives Malé Velana International Airport Terminated
Mexico Guadalajara Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport Cargo
Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport Cargo
Nepal Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Netherlands Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Passenger + Cargo
New Zealand Auckland Auckland Airport Passenger
Christchurch Christchurch International Airport Terminated
Pakistan Karachi Jinnah International Airport Terminated
Philippines Cebu Mactan–Cebu International Airport Passenger
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Qatar Doha Hamad International Airport Terminated
Russia Moscow Moscow Domodedovo Airport Terminated
Saudi Arabia Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport Terminated
Riyadh King Khalid International Airport Cargo
Singapore Singapore Singapore Changi Airport Passenger + Cargo
South Africa Cape Town Cape Town International Airport Terminated
Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport Resumes 1 August 2023
South Korea Seoul Incheon International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Spain Barcelona Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport Terminated
Madrid Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport Passenger
Sri Lanka Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport Terminated
Switzerland Zürich Zürich Airport Passenger
Taiwan Kaohsiung Kaohsiung International Airport Passenger
Taichung Taichung International Airport Terminated
Taipei Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Thailand Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport Terminated
Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger + Cargo
Phuket Phuket International Airport Passenger
Turkey Istanbul Atatürk Airport Airport Closed
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminated
Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport Terminated
Dubai International Airport Passenger
United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport Terminated
Heathrow Airport Passenger + Cargo
Manchester Manchester Airport Passenger
United States Anchorage Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Cargo
Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport Cargo
Boston Boston Logan International Airport Passenger
Chicago Chicago O'Hare International Airport Cargo (Passenger resumes 1 April 2023)
Columbus Rickenbacker International Airport Cargo
Dallas-Fort Worth Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Cargo
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Cargo
Los Angeles Los Angeles International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Miami Miami International Airport Cargo
Newark Newark Liberty International Airport Terminated
New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Portland Portland International Airport Cargo
San Francisco San Francisco International Airport Passenger
Seattle Seattle–Tacoma International Airport Terminated
Washington, D.C. Washington Dulles International Airport Terminated
Vietnam Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport Passenger + Cargo
Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International Airport Passenger + Cargo

Fleet[change | change source]

Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of narrow-body and wide-body passenger aircraft composed of the Airbus A321, Airbus A321neo, Airbus A330, Airbus A350 XWB, and Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline also operates a fleet of 20 Boeing 747 freighters.

Current fleet[change | change source]

As of February 2023, Cathay Pacific operates the following aircraft:

Cathay Pacific fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
F J W Y Total
Airbus A321-200 2 24 148 172 Transferred from merged Cathay Dragon.
Never entered service with Cathay Pacific.[1]
Airbus A321neo 9 6 12 190 202
Airbus A330-300 40 39 21 191 251
39 223 262
28 265 293
42 265 307 Equipped with regional configuration.
24 293 317
Airbus A350-900 28 2[2] 38 28 214 280[3] Originally ordered 22.[4]
8 orders converted from Airbus A350-1000.
Airbus A350-1000 18 46 32 256 334[5] Originally ordered 26.[4]
8 orders converted to Airbus A350-900.
Boeing 777-300 17 42 396 438 Launch customer.
Boeing 777-300ER 39 6 53 34 201 294
40 32 296 368
Boeing 777-9 21 TBA Deliveries deferred to 2025 or later.[6]
Cathay Pacific Cargo fleet
Boeing 747-400ERF 6 Cargo
Boeing 747-8F 14 Cargo
Total 173 29

Since its inception in 1946, the Cathay Pacific fleet has operated many types of aircraft. The first aircraft was a World War II surplus Douglas DC-3, named Betsy. the first aircraft for Cathay Pacific, is now a permanent exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum.

Cathay Pacific retired fleet[1][7][8][9][10]
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A320-200 1 2021 2022 Former Cathay Dragon fleet.
Never wore Cathay Pacific livery.
Airbus A321-200 3
Airbus A340-200 4 1994 1996 Leased from AFS before delivery of the A340-300.[11]
Airbus A340-300 15 1996 2017
Airbus A340-600 3 2002 2009
Boeing 707-320C 11 1971 1983
Boeing 747-200B 9 1979 1999
Boeing 747-200F 3 1981 2008
Boeing 747-200SF 4 1992 2009
Boeing 747-300 6 1985 1999 Sold to Pakistan International Airlines
Boeing 747-400 26 1989 2016
Boeing 747-400BCF 14 2005 2019
Boeing 747-400F 6 1994 2016
Boeing 777-200 4 1996 2019
1 The prototype, B-HNL, was donated to Pima Air and Space Museum
Convair 880 7 1962 1975 First jet aircraft type operated by the airline.
1 1972 Crashed as flight CX700Z
Douglas DC-3 Un­known 1946 1961 First aircraft used by the airline.
Aircraft that operated the airline's inaugural flight was donated to the Hong Kong Science Museum.
Douglas DC-4 Un­known 1949 1963
Douglas DC-6B Un­known 1958 1962
Lockheed L-188 Electra Un­known 1959 1967
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 19 1975 1996

Accidents and incidents[change | change source]

Cathay Pacific had ten incidents and accidents over its history, although none have resulted in a hull loss or loss of life since 1972. Cathay Pacific is generally regarded to have a good safety reputation and has been rated as one of the world's safest airlines.

  • On 16 July 1948, Miss Macao, a Cathay Pacific-subsidiary-operated Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (VR-HDT) from Macau to Hong Kong was hijacked by four men, who killed the pilot after take-off. The aircraft crashed in the Pearl River Delta near Zhuhai. Twenty-six people died, leaving only one survivor, a hijacker. This was the first hijacking of a commercial airliner in the world.[12]
  • On 24 February 1949, a Cathay Pacific Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered VR-HDG) from Manila to Hong Kong, crashed near Braemar Reservoir after a go-around in poor weather. All 23 people on board died.[13]
  • On 13 September 1949, a Cathay Pacific Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered VR-HDW) departing from Anisakan, Burma, crashed on take-off when the right-hand main gear leg collapsed. There were no reported fatalities.[14]
  • On 23 July 1954, a Cathay Pacific Douglas C-54 Skymaster (registered VR-HEU) from Bangkok to Hong Kong was shot down by aircraft of the People's Liberation Army Air Force in the South China Sea near Hainan Island. Ten people died, leaving nine survivors. After the incident, Cathay Pacific received an apology and compensation from the People's Liberation Army Air Force. It was apparently mistaken for a Nationalist Chinese military aircraft.[15]
  • On 5 November 1967, Cathay Pacific Flight 033, operated by a Convair 880 (registered VR-HFX) from Hong Kong to Saigon, overran the runway at Kai Tak Airport. One person was killed and the aircraft was written off.[16]
  • On 15 June 1972, Cathay Pacific Flight 700Z, operated by a Convair 880 (registered VR-HFZ) from Bangkok to Hong Kong, disintegrated and crashed while the aircraft was flying at 29,000 feet (8,800 m) over Pleiku, Vietnam after a bomb exploded in a suitcase placed under a seat in the cabin, killing all 81 people on board.[17] This remains the last Cathay Pacific incident to involve a total hull-loss and passenger fatalities.
  • On April 13 2010, Cathay Pacific Flight 780, operated by an Airbus A330-342 (registered B-HLL) from Surabaya Juanda International Airport to Hong Kong, landed safely after both engines failed due to contaminated fuel. 57 passengers were injured in the ensuing slide evacuation. Its two pilots received the Polaris Award from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations for their heroism and airmanship.[18]
  • On 15 August 2018, Cathay Pacific Flight 292, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER (registered B-KPY) suffered serious damage to the edge of its right wing after colliding with a floodlight pole in Rome–Fiumicino Airport during pushback. No injuries were reported.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cathay Pacific fleet". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. Kaminski-Morrow, David. "Cathay appears to switch more A350-1000s to -900s". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 12 August 2020. But Cathay's first-half financial results state that the airline has outstanding orders for six of each variant, indicating a conversion of two -1000s to -900s.
  3. "Airbus A350-900 features and seating plan". Cathay Pacific Airways. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Cathay Pacific Airways becomes new operator of the A350 XWB". Airbus (Press release). 30 May 2016.
  5. "Airbus A350-1000 features and seating plan". Cathay Pacific. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  6. "Cathay Pacific Delays Boeing 777X Deliveries To Beyond 2025" (Press release). Simple Flying. 21 October 2020.
  7. "The Cathay Pacific Fleet". Cathay Pacific. October 1996. Archived from the original on 4 February 1997. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  8. 馮志亮, 劉伯智, 胡淑芬, 王百賦, 劉俊輝, 龐德礎, 江桐林, 翹首振翅:香港機師手記 (Hong Kong: ET Press, 2004), pp. 188–189.
  9. Danny C.Y. Chan, Hong Kong Aircraft Handbook (Hong Kong: Northcord Transport, 1996).
  10. Gavin Young, Beyond Lion Rock: The Story of Cathay Pacific Airways (London: Hutchinson, 1988).
  11. "Cathay maintains order was timely". South China Morning Post. 9 December 1993.
  12. "Hijacking description – Cosnsolidated PBY-5A Catalina VR-HDT". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  13. "Accident description – Douglas C-47A-90-DL VR-HDG". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  14. "Accident description – Douglas C-47A-30-DK VR-HDW". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  15. "Accident description – Douglas C-54A-10-DC VR-HEU". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  16. "ASN Aircraft accident Convair CV-880-22M-3 VR-HFX Hong Kong-Kai Tak International Airport (HKG)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  17. "Criminal Occurrence description – Convair CV-880-22M-21 VR-HFZ". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  18. "Pilots reveal death-defying ordeal as engines failed on approach to Chek Lap Kok". South China Morning Post. 20 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.