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Cathay Pacific

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Cathay Pacific - airline information




General information


Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways is based in Hong Kong, operating from the country's new Chek Lap Kok International Airport.

The company is run by the Swire Group parent company and serves over 100 destinations around the World.

Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok International Airport was considered the World's best organized airport in 2006, with the least baggage losses and aircraft delays.

Cathay Pacific was rated by Skytrax as a 5-star airline. It is one of the only 4 carriers in the World that have received this rating.

Interestingly, this carrier was actually founded in 1946 in Shanghai by American Roy Farrell and Australian Sydney de Kantzow, both ex-army pilots. The name "Cathay" is an other name to China and the word "Pacific" was added to it because the routes served initially could be found in that area. The 2 owners of the company were aspiring to operate flights through the Pacific to the USA.

Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Guangzhou, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok were the initial destinations served by the carrier.

Swire Group has acquired 52 % of the company and the airline was moved to Hong Kong. Today, it is still partly owned by the Swire Group and has its main base in Hong Kong, but also serving secondary hubs at Bangkok's new Suwarnabhumi and Taipei's Taoyuan airports.


Fact sheet


 General company information...

Official name: 

Cathay Pacific Airways - 國泰航空有限公司 (Traditional Chinese) - 国泰航空有限公司 (Simplified Chinese)


"Now you're really flying"

IATA designator:


ICAO designator:



Hong Kong


One World Alliance



Chek Lap Kok International Airport - Hong Kong

Focus cities, regions,

secondary hubs:

Suwarnabhumi International Airport - Bangkok, Thailand

Taoyuan International Airport - Taipei, Taiwan

Number of destinations:


 Fleet & flights-related...

Fleet size:

101 (+3 orders)

Aircraft types used:

Airbus A330, Airbus 340

Boeing 747, Boeing 777

Accidents & incidents:



Number of passengers:



Economy / Regional Business / Long-haul Business / First

Frequent flyer program:

Asia Miles

Marco Polo Club

Other important issues:

- Cathay Pacific was rated the World's "Best Overall Airline" by Skytrax in 2003 and 2005

- Cathay Pacific was selected as the "Airline Of The World" by Air Transport World in 2006

- Cathay Pacific could be one of the first companies to order the new, Boeing 747-8, if it is selected over the Airbus A380




102 destinations were served in spring, 2007. Currently, the company is seeking ways to extend further into the North American and the mainland Chinese markets.




The Cathay fleet consists of long range aircraft only. Boeing 777 and 747 on one hand and on the other, Airbus A340 and A330.

More Airbus A330s and Boeing 747s have been ordered. Cathay Pacific has also shown interest towards the Airbus A380, but until 2007, no firm orders have been placed. The Boeing 747-8, the only current competitor of the "Super Jumbo" also has chances (against the A380) for purchase, negotiations between Cathay and the American manufacturer have already begun. 

In April 2006, the Cathay Pacific airplanes had a medium age of 7 years.


Frequent flyer program


Interestingly, this airline has 2 frequent flyer programs:


Marco Polo Club

It is a typical frequent flyer program and has 4 tiers: Diamond, Gold, Silver and Green.

Due to its One World Alliance member status, Cathay's frequent flyer program is harmonized with those of the other members. This means, that you could (under strict conditions) obtain bonuses even when flying with another carrier that is part of the One World Alliance.

Asia Miles

It is a separate program from the Asia Miles and offers benefits to members at other airlines and hotels, car rental agencies, telecommunication companies and other firms, which are partners with Cathay Pacific.


Activity & market position


Cathay Pacific grew significantly when it has bought its biggest rival Hong Kong Airways in 1959.

During the last quarter of the 20th century, the airline has extended to North America and Europe.

Today, the company is owned by 2 Chinese companies (CNAC Limited and CITIC, both with 17,5 %) and the Swire Group (40 %) as well as numerous small shareholders.

The company has a strong position in the international air travel market. It is also one of the founding members of the One World Alliance.


Wholly-owned companies & stakes at other companies


Qantas is not just a single air carrier, but one mighty company that packs multiple airlines, many wholly owned, as well as a tracking company. 


Here's a list of Qantas-run airlines: 



Also part of the One World Alliance, Dragonair is partly owned by Cathay and one day it will become a subsidiary of the giant, when more than 88 % of its shares will be bought by it. Cathay Pacific is planning to buy 82,12 % of Dragonair, making it its full subsidiary, until then, the company will certainly keep its own brand.

Air Hong Kong

60 % of this company's shares belong to Cathay Pacific.


Partnerships & alliances


The company is part of the One World Alliance, along with other major players like American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, JAL.

As it usually happens, code-share agreements extend the number of destinations the airline.


Code-share agreements:


Code-share partners of Cathay Pacific Airways are presented below:


Air China

American Airlines

British Airways




JAL - Japan Airlines

Malaysia Airlines


Vietnam Airlines


Cathay also has similar agreements with non-air carriers, like the French rail company, SNCF, which transports travelers from the Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport's TGV (fast train) station to the cities of Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpelier, Nantes, Poitiers, Valence, etc. 


Current activity and perspectives for the future


Further extension towards the US-market  


Currently, Cathay Pacific is seeking ways to penetrate the US market deeper. the company has a relatively weak position and would like to operate on new routes with its newly purchased aircraft.

Possibly, flights to new US destinations will start before 2010.


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 Last modified/updated: April 26, 2007


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