Review: 10 Cathay Pacific Facts you should know

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1. Founded by an Australian and American.

On the 24th of September 1946, roughly a year after the end of the Second World War by Sydney H. de Kantzow and Roy C. Farrell. Sydney, was serving as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He was the son of Swedish/Polish migrants and as his name already suggests, he grew up in the Australian city of Sydney.


Roy was an American citizen and served the CNAC during the war flying supplies to Burma. He named the airline Cathay Pacific. "Cathay" used to be the medieval name for China and Roy had the vision of flying over the Pacific Ocean one day, hence the name. 

2. Cathay won the Best Airline award 4 times.

No other airline in the world has been named "Airline of the Year" as often as the Hong Kong based carrier. The Skytrax awards have been given out since 2001 with Emirates being the first to win it. Cathay claimed the award in 2003, 2005, 2009 as well as 2014, more than any other airline in the world.


Also Hong Kong International Airport was voted as the best airport in the world 8 times. There have only been 6 airlines that have ever won the award. British Airways and Asiana were the only ones who won the award once. Other winners were Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

3. One of the few Airbus A350 operator.

The Airbus A350 is the most modern and latest passenger aircraft in service. It was introduced in 2014 with Qatar Airways as it launching customer. On May 30th, 2016 Cathay Pacific received it's very first brand new A350 from the Airbus manufacturer in Toulouse.


The inaugural flight happened on the 1st of June to Manila for a turn around service. Cathay placed an order of 46 A350-900 and -1000 to join the fleet in the next years with the aim to replace it's A340's. It's currently operating on flights to Auckland, London and Dusseldorf. 

4. farewell to a Legend.

On September 30th, 2016, Cathay Pacific's last 747 took off for a very last time on a scheduled passenger flight. It's final destination was the Japanese capital Tokyo and put an end to an era that started in 1979.


The "Queen of the Skies" is slowly fading from the skies due to the trend of operating, lighter and more efficient airplanes such as the 787 Dreamliner or the A350. However, the 747 is considered one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century . On October 8th, a week after it's last commercial flight, the jumbo jet took of for a farewell flight over Victoria Harbour before returning to the airport after an hour.

5. The first jet arrived in 1964.

In order to extend it's network and to stay more competitive Cathay Pacific received its very first jet in 1964. The Convair 880 was the fastest commercial airplane at this period of time and already part of major airline fleets such as Delta, Swissair or TWA. The jet stayed part of the fleet for 11 years before being retired in 1975. Ever since that day Cathay has been constantly growing it's fleet.

6. Cathay's longest flight takes 16 hours.

It was in 1998 when the famous Kai Tak airport closed for good. The airport was located right in the heart of the city and famous for it's spectacular landings. It was a hot summer night when flight CX251 took off en-route to London Heathrow putting an end to 73 years of service.


The next day the very first nonstop transpolar flight landed at the new Chek Lap Kok international airport arriving from JFK Airport in New York. This route is still in service and Cathay's longest flight. The 777 needs 16 hours to cover a distance of 8,067km.

7. Dragonair becomes Cathay Dragon.

All regional flights are being operated by Cathay Dragon which is currently undergoing a rebranding from it's former name Dragonair. Dragonair or soon to be Cathay Dragon is a fully owned subsidiary of Hong Kong's flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, and is an affiliate member of the Oneworld airline alliance as well. It mainly serves routes to China, Thailand, Vietnam and other Asian countries while Cathay Pacific is operating intercontinental flights.

8. The Famous Runway 13 Approach.

The approach using runway 13 at the former Kai Tak airport was spectacular and world-famous. To land on runway 13 the aircraft would pass over the crowded harbour, and then the very busy densely populated areas of Western Kowloon with an altitude of only 200 meters.


The pilot would need to make a 47° visual right turn to line up with the runway and complete the final leg to the runway. This manoeuvre has become widely known in the piloting community as the "Hong Kong Turn" or the "Kai Tak Heart Attack" for passengers.

9. Hong Kong International Airport is one of the best.

Due to the massive growth of Hong Kong in the 70's and 80's a new bigger airport was required to handle all the traffic and cargo that was brought to the city. The space was very limited and a solution needed to be introduced. In 1998 the new Hong Kong International airport was opened to the public.


It was build 30km outside the city centre on an artificial island which was entirely created to accommodate the new airport. In order to connect the airport with Hong Kong a new highway needed to be built as well, including one of the longest spaning suspension bridges in the world, the Tsing Ma Bridge. The airport has received many awards in the past years including the Skytrax Best Airport of the Year award.

10. A DC-3 called Betsy was Cathay's first plane.

The DC-3 is probably the Beetle of the aviation industry, it wouldn't just stop working. You could fly on forever with this airplane, just as you could drive the VW Beetle for a lifetime.


Over 16,000 of those birds where built in the 1930's and 40's and they are still in service today in certain regions of the world. Cathay Pacific's very first airplane was also a DC-3 nicknamed Betsy, which was bought in New York. It's very first commercial flight took Betsy from Sydney to Shanghai. It was a cargo flight loaded with clothes.

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