Saturday, April 23, 2011
Cathay Pacific ( 國泰航空公司; Jyutping: gwok taai hong hung gung si, SEHK: 0293) is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place.The airline's operations include scheduled passenger and cargo services to 114 destinations in 36 countries worldwide, including codeshares and joint ventures, with a fleet of 126 wide-body aircraft, consisting of Airbus A330s and A340s, Boeing 747s and 777s. The airline also operates fifth freedom flights from Bangkok and Taipei, its major focus cities. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Dragonair, operates to 29 destinations in the Asia-Pacific region from its Hong Kong base. In 2009, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair operated 56,000 flights, carrying nearly 25 million passengers and over 1.52 million tonnes of cargo and mail.
The airline was founded on 24 September 1946 by American Roy C. Farrell and Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow, with each man putting up HK$1 to register the airline. The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998, and it also operated the maiden flight to arrive at the new Hong Kong International Airport. The airline celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006; and as of October 2009, its major shareholders are Swire Pacific and Air China. It is reciprocally one of the major shareholders of Air China. Cathay Pacific currently holds the title of the world's third largest airline, measured in terms of market capitalization, according to the International Air Transport Association. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international cargo airline, along with main hub Hong Kong International Airport as the world's busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic.
On 5 July 1998, Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport witnessed its last commercial departing flight, Cathay Pacific Flight 251 to London Heathrow Airport, after over 73 years of operation. The next day, Cathay Pacific Flight 889, from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, piloted by Captain Mike Lowes and First Officer Kelvin Ma, was the maiden flight to arrive at the new Hong Kong International Airport, located at Chek Lap Kok, west of Hong Kong. This flight was also the world's first non-stop transpolar flight from New York to Hong Kong. The flight, dubbed Polar One, takes approximately 16 hours to travel between Hong Kong and New York, saving about three to four hours on journey time, compared to the one stop service via Vancouver. 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 8,055 mi (12,963 km).
The airline operated the first commercial non-stop transpolar flight from Canada on 19 May 2000, with Cathay Pacific Flight 829 from Toronto to Hong Kong. The flight flew directly over Hudson Bay and passed within 50 nautical miles (93 km; 58 mi) of the North Pole, it took just 14 hours and 59 minutes and saved almost three hours from the normal route, which included a technical stop in Anchorage. It is Cathay Pacific's second longest non-stop flight with a distance of 7,809 mi (12,567 km)