The company flies around a million passengers a month to sixty-two destinations and carries around 80,000 tonnes of cargo through AHK (Air Hong Kong). In 2001 the airline had a turnover of HK 30,436 million and made a profit of HK$ 657 million. The operating fleet numbers 75 aircraft, a mixture of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and employs 14,500 people (2001).
Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-600.|
Cathay Pacific Airways was founded in Hong Kong on September 24, 1946 by an American and an Australian, Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow, both ex-air force. They had a single Douglas C-47. The company initially flew routes between Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. In 1948 Butterfield & Swires took a minority stake in the airline and soon came to have complete control over the day-to-day management, later acquiring 52% of Cathay Pacific. The airline is still part of the Swire Group through Swire Pacific.
The airline prospered into the 1960s, buying rival Hong Kong Airways in 1959, recording double digit growth until 1967, acquiring its first jet engined aircraft (Convair 880) and beginning international routes to airports in Japan. In 1966 the airline had carried a million passengers. Expansion continued throughout the 1970s and especially the 1980s, when an industry-wide boom encouraged route growth to many European centres and Cathay Pacific went public in 1986. The company was hurt by the Asian recession of the late 1990s, undergoing a reorganization and developing a new identity.
In 1996 the Chinese CITIC bought a 25% stake in Cathay Pacific. The Swire Group holding was reduced to 44% as two other Chinese companies, CNAC and CTS also bought substantial holdings.
See also: List of Chinese companies