Definitions

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways Limited is the largest airline and flag carrier of Hong Kong. Based at Hong Kong International Airport, the airline's operations include scheduled passenger and cargo services to 120 destinations worldwide.

Cathay Pacific is one of only six airlines worldwide to carry a five-star rating from Skytrax. Cathay was named "Airline of the Year" in 2003 and 2005 by Skytrax and in 2006 by Air Transport World and OAG. The airline has been voted the second best airline in the world by Skytrax for 2008. Cathay Pacific is accredited by the IATA with the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) for safety practices. It is also a member of the Oneworld alliance. The company is managed by the Swire Group.

History

Early years

Cathay Pacific Airways was founded in Hong Kong on 24 September 1946 by American Roy Farrell and Australian Sydney de Kantzow. 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 Airways. They named it "Cathay" because it was the Medieval name given to China, derived from "Khitan", and "Pacific" because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific. The Chinese name for the company comes from a Chinese idiom meaning "Grand and Peaceful State".

According to legend, the airline was conceived by Farrell and some foreign correspondents at the bar of the Manila Hotel. On Cathay Pacific's maiden voyage, Roy Farrell and Sydney 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 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 Airways (1948) Ltd on 18 October 1948. Swire later acquired 52% of Cathay Pacific and today the airline is still 40% owned by the Swire Group through Swire Pacific.

Expansion in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s

The airline prospered into the 1960s, buying rival Hong Kong Airways in 1959, carrying its one-millionth passenger in 1964, recording double digit growth from 1962 to 1967, acquiring its first jet engined aircraft (Convair 880), and beginning international routes to airports in Japan. In the 1970s, Cathay Pacific installed a computerised reservation system and flight simulators. In 1979, Cathay Pacific acquired its first Boeing 747 and applied for traffic rights to begin flying to London. Expansion continued into the 1980s, when an industry-wide boom encouraged route growth to many European and North American centres. In 1986, Cathay Pacific went public.

The 1990s

In January 1990, Cathay Pacific and its parent company, Swire Pacific, acquired a significant shareholding in Dragonair, and a 60% stake in cargo airline Air Hong Kong. During the early 1990s, Cathay Pacific launched a programme to upgrade passenger service. Also, the green and white striped livery was replaced with the current "brushstroke" livery. Cathay Pacific began a US$9 billion fleet replacement program during the mid-1990s that resulted with Cathay Pacific having one of the youngest airline fleets in the world. In 1996, CITIC bought a 25% stake in Cathay Pacific while the Swire Group holding was reduced to 44% as two other Chinese companies, CNAC and CTS also bought substantial holdings.

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

In September 1998, Cathay Pacific became a founding member of the Oneworld Alliance. In 1999, they completed their new headquarters, named Cathay City, which is located at Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay Pacific was hurt by the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, but recorded a record HK$5 billion profit in 2000.

The 49'ers - industrial troubles

Cathay Pacific fired 49 of its 1,500 pilots on July 9, 2001; hence, they are known as "the 49ers" (though total dismissals and downgrades subsequent totalled 62). About half of the fired pilots were captains, or 5 percent of the total pilot group. But of the 21 officers of the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA), 9 were fired, including four of the seven union negotiators.

"The firing was pure intimidation, a union-bust straight up, designed to be random enough to put the fear in all pilots that they might be next, no reason given," says Captain Nigel Demery, president of the HKAOA (and also Hong Kong-ALPA, the IFALPA affiliate of all Hong Kong based flight crew members.)

A later head of the HKAOA, Captain Murray Gardner, is said to have favoured a more soft-line approach to dealing with management and indeed workplace relations between the two groups have been largely conciliatory since 2002.

Cathay offered the 49 pilots it sacked in 2001 the chance to reapply for pilot positions with its cargo division, guaranteeing such applicants first interviews, subject to passing psychometric testing. 19 former employees applied and 12 were offered jobs.

Acquisition of Dragonair

On 9 June 2006, Cathay Pacific underwent a shareholding realignment under which Dragonair became wholly owned by Cathay Pacific but continued to operate under its own brand. Air China, and its subsidiary, CNAC Limited, acquired a 17.5% stake in Cathay Pacific, and Cathay Pacific doubled its shareholding in Air China to 20%. CITIC reduced its shareholding to 17.5%, and Swire reduced its shareholding to 40%.

Present

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 2007 Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried more than 23 million passengers.

In June 2008, Cathay Pacific agreed to pay a portion of $504 million in fines levied by the U.S. Justice Department related to cargo price fixing.

Awards

  • Cathay Pacific is one of 6 airlines worldwide which has been rated as a 5 star airline by Skytrax
  • Cathay Pacific was named World's Best Overall Airline in 2003 and 2005 by a Skytrax survey
  • Cathay Pacific is also accredited by the IATA with the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) for its safety practices
  • The airline was also awarded with Best First Class, Best First Class Lounge (Hong Kong), and Best Business Class Lounge (Hong Kong) by Skytrax.
  • The airline was named Airline of the Year 2006 by Air Transport World magazine and by OAG.
  • Cathay Pacific have been awarded Most Punctual Airline between London and Hong Kong for the third consecutive year in 2007.

Destinations

  • Cathay Pacific Cargo has launched daily freighter services from Hong Kong to Shanghai using Boeing 747-200F aircraft, making it the second mainland China city served after it resumed passenger services to Beijing in December 2003, after a 13 year break (ref: Airliner World, March 2005).
  • The first flight to land at the new Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok, was the Cathay Pacific flight CX889 from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, USA, non-stop and flying over the North Pole, which arrived on 6 July 1998. This flight was named Polar One. The last commercial flight to leave Hong Kong's old Kai Tak Airport was the CX251 flight to London Heathrow Airport.
  • Cathay Pacific operates twice daily return non-stop flights from Hong Kong to New York JFK that fly approximately over the North Pole CX830 & CX840 operate From HKG to JFK; CX831 & CX841 operate JFK to HKG. It is Cathay Pacific's longest non-stop flight, as well as one of the longest non-stop flights by distance in the world at 8055mi or 12968 km, lasting for approximately 16 hours. Continental Airlines also operates on this route, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport. In addition, Cathay Pacific operates daily return Hong Kong-Toronto non-stop flights, (CX826/827) which are also operated via polar routes. These routes are now flown using Cathay Pacific's B777-300ERs.
  • On 29 April 2007, Cathay Pacific once suspended its flights to Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, after several attacks on the airport by a para-military group.
  • During 2008, Cathay Pacific increased frequencies to India, Middle East and Australia, while cutting flights to Canada and The United States.

Fleet

Livery

All planes of Cathay Pacific bear its logo as well as small lettering with "Asia's World City Hong Kong" on it. All planes also bear the Oneworld logo and the logo of Swire Group.

Passenger

Cathay Pacific operate 118 planes, 52 of which are fitted with 3 classes of service (First, Long-haul Business, and Economy) for long-haul flights and 44 are fitted with 2 classes of service (Long-haul/Regional Business and Economy) for short-haul flights and some long-haul flights. Cathay Pacific only operates wide body jets, which includes their cargo fleet of 22 freighters.

In October 2008, the average age of the Cathay Pacific fleet was 10.9 years.

Cathay Pacific Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
Airbus A330-300 32
(8 orders)
New 2-class Interior
264 (41/223)
2-class
311 (44/267)
3-class
251 (8/32/211)
Fitted with either Regional Business Class or First, Long Haul Business Class
Current A330s with First Class will be reconfigured as 2-class with new cabin interiors.
Largest operator of the A330.
Airbus A340-300 15 New 2-class Interior
283 (26/257)
2-class
287 (30/257)
3-class
243 (8/30/205)
Fitted with either Long Haul Business Class or First, Long Haul Business Class
All A340s will be reconfigured as 2-class with new cabin interiors
Airbus A340-600 1 3-class
286 (8/60/218)
Leases expiring; the remaining A340-600 will leave the fleet by 15 October 2008
Boeing 747-400 23 New Interior
379 (9/46/324)
Standard
383 (12/47/324)
Fitted with First and Long Haul Business Class
All B747s will be reconfigured as 3-class with new cabin interiors
Boeing 777-200 5 336 (45/291) Fitted with Regional Business Class
Boeing 777-300 12 385 (59/326) Fitted with Regional Business Class
Boeing 777-300ER 9
(21 orders)
301 (6/57/238) Factory-installed as 3-class with new cabin interior.

On 1 December 2005, Cathay Pacific announced an order for 16 777-300ER aircraft (4 on lease from ILFC) to be delivered between September 2007 and July 2010, plus options on 20 more of the type, 2 of which were converted to orders on 1 June 2006. Cathay Pacific also ordered 3 more A330-300 the same day, with the delivery of the aircraft scheduled for 2008. Cathay Pacific may reach a decision regarding the issue of how the airline's future high-capacity long-haul requirements are to be fulfilled by ordering either the Airbus A380-800/-900, Airbus A350, Boeing 787 or the Boeing 747-8. However, Cathay Pacific recently stated that they have no plans to order Airbus A380 nor Boeing 787 soon.

On 29 August 2006, Cathay Pacific 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 60th anniversary livery with a 60th anniversary sticker behind the second doors (2L and 2R) and the letters '100th aircraft' at the rear of the aircraft. The aircraft was named "Progress Hong Kong", a name that was chosen from a competition by the staff.

On 7 August 2007, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it had placed an order for five more wide-body Boeing 777-300ER “Extended Range” aircraft for a total price of about US$11 billion, increasing its commitment to a total of 23 of the aircraft type. These five additional Boeing 777-300ERs will be purchased directly from the Boeing Company and will be delivered in 2011.

On 8 November 2007, Cathay Pacific announced that it had placed an order for 7 additional 777-300ERs and 10 747-8F freighters with Boeing. The airline 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. The order has a listed price of $5.2 billion US.

On 6 December 2007, Cathay Pacific placed a firm order for 8 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 announced the previous month, the new aircraft will take the Cathay Pacific Group's fleet size to 200 by 2012. From that 200 aircraft, Cathay Pacific will operate 150 by itself, and the rest will be used by Cathay Pacific subsidiaries.

On 30 January 2008, the chief Boeing 777 pilot for Cathay Pacific, Captain Ian Wilkinson, performed a low-level flypast, reportedly with permission of the control tower, but without permission from the airline, at the Boeing Everett Factory when taking delivery of a new Boeing 777-300ER. Captain Wilkinson was dismissed for his actions. No injuries or further incident was caused.

Cargo

Cathay Pacific Cargo Fleet
Aircraft Total Notes
Boeing 747-200F 5 2 B747-200F (B-HVY/B-HME) are retired from Cathay Pacific's freighter fleet
Boeing 747-400F 6
Boeing 747-400BCF 9
Boeing 747-400ERF 2
(4 orders)
Boeing 747-8F (10 orders)
On March 19, 2008, Hong Kong Airport Authority awarded the airline’s wholly owned subsidiary, Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (“CPSL”), a franchise to invest in, design, construct and operate a new air cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport (“HKIA”). A 20-year franchise agreement was signed between CPSL and AAHK for a common use cargo terminal. The new cargo terminal will be built in the cargo area at the airport, close to the existing cargo servicing facilities. The terminal facility will occupy a site area of approximately 10 hectares. The new cargo terminal will be operated by a separate management team in CPSL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.

Retired

Since its conception in 1946, Cathay Pacific had operated many types of aircraft. The first two Cathay Pacific aircraft were two World War II surplus Douglas DC-3s named Betsy and Niki. Betsy (VR-HDB), which is 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 has been purchased by Cathay Pacific. It was renovated and repainted by CX Engineering and the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company and it now wears the original Cathay Pacific colour scheme. This aircraft received "Niki"s' old VR-HDA registration and is now on public view in the car park outside the Flight Training Centre of Cathay City.

Other aircraft that have been in service with Cathay Pacific are:

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cathay Pacific was the largest operator of the Lockheed TriStar outside the United States.

Services

Catering

Food and beverages served on flights leaving Hong Kong are provided by Cathay Pacific Catering Services in facilities in Hong Kong. CLS Catering Services Limited is a joint venture with LSG Sky Chefs and offers inflight catering from airports in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. Special meals can also be ordered 24 hours before departure.

In-flight entertainment

Since the early 1990s, all seats in all classes have been equipped with Personal TVs (PTVs) featuring Cathay's in-flight entertainment system, StudioCX. There are two versions of Studio CX:

  • Economy Class and Regional Business Class feature 20 video channels and 22 audio channels running on a 2-hour cycle. The primary language of the content is English but with Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese content also always available along and other languages (Korean, Thai, Hindi, French, Italian and German) sometimes available, depending on the route being flown.
  • For first class and long-haul business class (including on short-haul and regional flights using aircraft configured in the long-haul layout) StudioCX includes an Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD) system that provides a choice of 50 movies, 100 TV programmes and 120 audio CDs (in 28 genres).

Ten interactive games are provided in all classes for flights on which AVOD is offered.

AVOD is available in all First and Business Class cabins on Boeing B747-400s, Boeing B777-300ERs, Airbus A340s (both -300s and -600s) and A330-300s fitted in the long-haul 2- or 3-class configurations. Passengers travelling in the new Economy Class will also have AVOD.

Panasonic's "eX2" system is being installed on aircraft with the new seat configuration, and is available on selected A330-300s, B747-400s and all B777-300ERs, and will eventually be provided on all Cathay passenger aircraft.

New seats

Cathay Pacific have been phasing in new cabin interiors and inflight entertainment since May 2007. The first aircraft with the new seats was B-HKT, a Boeing 747-400, which flew its first commercial flight with the new seats as CX 460 between Hong Kong and Taipei on 11 May 2007. At that time only the new First and Business Classes were installed; however this aircraft now has the new Economy seats, installed during June 2008. The following aircraft are confirmed to have the new seats installed in all three classes: B-HKD, B-HKE, B-HKF, B-HKT, B-HKU, B-HKV, B-HOS, B-HOT, B-HOV, B-HOX, B-HOW, B-HOY, B-HUA, B-HUD, B-HUI and B-HUG (Boeing 747-400); B-LAC, B-LAE, B-LAF, B-LAG and B-LAH (Airbus A330-300) and B-KPA to B-KPI (Boeing 777-300ERs). All Airbus aircraft with the new cabin will be in a 2-class configuration. Terrestrial AC Adapters have been newly built-in to the new seats as well and are available in all classes (Unfortunately due to problems with the integration of AC Adapters in the B747-400 Aircrafts in-flight power is currently unavailable on these aircrafts).

First Class Cabins

  • The New First Class can be converted into a fully lie-flat bed measuring 36” x 81” (90cm x 205cm). The new seats include a massage function, a personal closet, an Ottoman for stowage or guest seating, and an adjustable 17", 16:9 PTV.
  • First Class seats can be converted into fully lie-flat beds measuring 22" x 79" (56cm x 201cm) and feature a 10.4" (26cm) PTV, privacy screens and center seat dividers for interior rows, and in-seat power and data ports. This configuration is being replaced by the New First Class cabins.

Business Class Cabins

Cathay Pacific flights feature three business class configurations:

  • The New Business Class seats are arranged in a herring-bone configuration and follow a suite-like arrangement. The seats are fully lie-flat with increased privacy and larger a AVOD PTV. Additionally, the seats feature lumbar support, massage, a 110 V AC power socket, and a personal phone. However, some passengers have commented that the seats feel narrow and claustrophobic, that the angled seat pattern is uncomfortable, that the construction quality appears sub-standard, and that passengers travelling together will be separated by the pod layout.
  • Business Class Seats on aircraft configured for long-haul flights include a 20.5" (52cm) wide seat that converts into an angled lie-flat bed at a 60" pitch, measuring over 75" (190.5cm) long. Features of these seats include adjustable headrest and lumbar support, water bottle holders and 10.4" (26cm) PTVs with AVOD. This configuration is being phased out as it is replaced by the New Business Class interiors.
  • The Regional Business Class is provided on Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777s (excluding the 777-300ER) and select Airbus A330-300s. Regional Business Class seats have 20" width and recline to 45" of pitch and feature electrical recline and leg rest. A 9" PTV is located in the armrest provides 20 video and 22 audio channels but does not offer AVOD.

Economy Class Cabins

  • The New Economy Class seats, offered on aircraft outfitted with the refurbished long-haul interiors, were designed by B/E Aerospace. New features of these seats include a fixed back design that allows passengers to recline without intruding on those seated behind, a 9" PTV providing AVOD, a larger tray table, a coat hook and a literature pocket that has been relocated to below the seat cushion to create more leg room. These seats are 17" in width and have 32" of pitch.
  • Economy Class seats each feature personal 6" PTVs with a choice of 25 channels. These seats are 17" in width and have 32" of pitch. These seats are being replaced with the New Economy Class seats on aircraft receiving the Cathay Pacific's new long-haul interior configuration.

Loyalty Programmes

Cathay Pacific has two loyalty programmes: The Marco Polo Club ("The Club") and Asia Miles. Members of "The Club" are automatically enrolled as Asia Miles members.

The Marco Polo Club divides members into four tiers based on past travel. Higher tiered members are provided with increased travel benefits such as upgrades, additional baggage allowance, priority flight booking and lounge access. 50 USD is mandatory in registering as a Marco Polo Club Member. There are four tiers in the Marco Polo Club.

Green Tier

Although this is the lowest tier it still gives the member more benefits than a non-member Economy Class passenger. So for example Green Tier members can check in at designated Marco Polo check-in counters, which include the Business Class counters at selected airports. They are also given priority boarding. However, lounge access is not part of this tier.

Silver Tier

Silver Tier is achieved when the member earns 30,000 club miles or 20 sectors within a year. The Marco Polo Silver Tier is in many ways much more generous than other silver cards provided by most airlines. For example a Silver Card member has guaranteed 10kg extra baggage allowance, guaranteed Business Class check-in (throughout the CX network) and guaranteed Business Class lounge access when flying Cathay Pacific. Members also receive a Oneworld "Ruby" status, which enables the member to check-in at the Business Class counter when they are flying any airline that is part of the Oneworld Alliance.

Gold Tier

With this tier, the member is entitled to a 15kg extra baggage allowance and guaranteed economy class seats (providing booking is made within 72 hours). Members also receive One World "Sapphire" status which allows them to access any Business Class lounge as long as they are flying with the Oneworld Alliance. To qualify and renew their membership, Gold Tier members must earn 60,000 miles or 40 sectors within a period of one year. Members may also bring in one guest to the lounge.

Diamond Tier

This is the highest tier. Members can enjoy First Class check-in and lounge access through out the CX network and the Oneworld Network. They also gain a 20kg extra baggage allowance, and a guaranteed Economy Class seat if ticket is booked up to 24 hours in advance. To qualify for this tier, members need to earn 120,000 club miles or 80 sectors. The member also gains Oneworld "Emerald" status.

Asia Miles is a more traditional travel rewards programme in which "miles" are accumulated by flying on Cathay Pacific or a partner airline. Miles can also be earned by spending through a number of hotels, credit card companies, car rental agencies, telecommunication companies and other non-airline channels. These miles can then be redeemed for flights or other products and services. Joining is free.

It should be noted that club miles, unlike Asia Miles, can only be earned when a member flies in an eligible subclasss with CX, KA or any other member of the Oneworld Alliance. Club miles may not be purchased.

The subclasses (on Economy Class) on CX and KA that are eligible are as follows: Y, B, H, K, L, M, V

Subclasses Y, B, H, and K are the only subclasses that are eligible for an upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class (using Asia Miles).

Codeshare agreements

Cathay Pacific's network is expanding rapidly with codeshare links from Oneworld hubs such as Los Angeles International Airport (American Airlines) and London Heathrow Airport (British Airways).

Cathay Pacific has also began codeshare links with French trains from TGV station at Charles de Gaulle International Airport to ten French cities.

Cathay Pacific has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of June 2007:

Incidents and accidents

References

External links

Search another word or see Cathay Pacificon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature