CHINA’S HIGH-FLYER

Look­ing back at Cathay Pa­cific’s jour­ney

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

As the pop­u­lar legend goes, the name Cathay Pa­cific was coined at the bar of the Manila Ho­tel in Hong Kong by founders Roy C Far­rell and Syd­ney H de Kant­zow. The air­line kick-started by com­menc­ing op­er­a­tions to Manila, Bangkok, Sin­ga­pore and Shang­hai in 1946. Busi­ness grew at an av­er­age rate of 20 per cent each year dur­ing the 1960s — a glo­ri­ous time for Cathay Pa­cific.

In­tro­duc­tion of lat­est tech­nol­ogy such as com­put­erised reser­va­tion sys­tems and flight sim­u­la­tors, made the 1970s an im­por­tant time for the air­line. By 1973, Cathay was al­ready car­ry­ing one mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally. A record­break­ing profit of HK$5 bil­lion in the be­gin­ning of the mil­len­nium es­tab­lished its po­si­tion as a dom­i­nant avi­a­tion player. By the next two years, it had fin­ished the ac­qui­si­tion of Air Hong Kong.

It started fly­ing to Bei­jing in 2003 and soon be­gan op­er­a­tions to Xi­a­men, mak­ing it the prime gate­way to main­land China.

Keep­ing up with the times, the air­line de­vel­oped its in-flight prod­uct next in the early part of the mil­len­nium and went dig­i­tal with e-busi­ness ef­forts in­clud­ing on­line check-in and pre-flight or­der­ing for duty-free items. Com­plet­ing 60 years in avi­a­tion in 2006, Cathay Pa­cific pur­chased Drag­o­nair (now Cathay Dragon) in 2006 and es­tab­lished a closer re­la­tion­ship with Air China.

Cathay Pa­cific’s repo­si­tion­ing ef­forts in­clude the in­tro­duc­tion of a new liv­ery in Novem­ber 2015, which was im­ple­mented across all its air­craft. Its catchy “Life Well Trav­elled” brand phi­los­o­phy was also in­tro­duced in the same year.

Of late, the air­line has been ex­ten­sively fo­cussing on its life­style of­fer­ings. This in­cludes the ex­pan­sion of its wine panel to in­clude cel­e­brated wine ex­pert De­bra Meiburg. Cathay Pa­cific prides it­self on serv­ing around 80 dif­fer­ent wines from coun­tries in­clud­ing France, Italy, Aus­tria, South Africa, Aus­tralia, the United States and New Zealand.

This year in Fe­bru­ary, it launched Betsy Beer, the air­line’s own hand­crafted bev­er­age named af­ter “Betsy”, the air­line’s first air­craft. The beer has been cre­ated keep­ing in mind the al­ter­na­tions that take place on pas­sen­gers’ taste buds while fly­ing.

Cathay Pa­cific’s jour­ney has been an in­ter­est­ing one. To­day, Cathay Pa­cific Group (in­cludes Cathay Dragon and Air Hong Kong) op­er­ates 186 air­craft across 180 des­ti­na­tions round the world.

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