You Can Book Cheap Flights With Cathay Pacific To More Than 36 Countries
For well over 60 years, travellers have been offered cheap flights with Cathay Pacific Airways (CPA). This airline, which is Hong Kong's flag carrier, provides cargo and passenger services to 36 countries, comprising a total of 114 destinations. Its fleet consists of 126 aircraft made up of Boeing 777s, Boeing 747s, Airbus A340s and Airbus 330s. It is owned by Dragonair which serves the Asia-Pacific area from its base in Hong Kong (HKG).
The airline has an interesting history. On 26 September 1946, it was founded by two ex-airforce pilots, one from America and the other from Australia. In July 1998, Cathay Pacific made its first non-stop international flight over the North Pole. In 2006, it celebrated its 60th birthday.
To mark this occasion, a series of road shows called 'The Cathay Pacific 60th Anniversary Sky Show' commenced. The public was able to see new developments, meet the staff, play games, and see some of the first uniforms ever worn. Part of the festivities included in-flight meals being served at some of Hong Kong's top restaurants.
The major shareholders became Air China and Swire Pacific in October 2009. Reciprocally, Cathay Pacific Airlines is a major shareholder in Air China. In terms of market share, CPA is the third largest airline in the world. As of 2010, it is the largest international cargo carrier in the world. In terms of airline cargo traffic, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is the world's busiest airport.
Along with Dragonair, CPA founded the Oneworld Alliance and, in 2009, Cathay Pacific was voted as 'Airline of the Year' by an independent flight consultancy in the UK called Skytrax. Furthermore, Skytrax rated it as one of only 7 international airlines to be worthy of 5-stars. On 1 July 1959, CPA really got off the ground when it bought out its main competitor, Hong Kong Airways.
During the years 1962 through to 1967, Cathay Pacific achieved an annual growth that reached double digits. It was the first international airline to offer flights to the Japanese cities of Osaka (OSA), Nagoya (NGO), and Fukuoka (FUK). Its millionth passenger boarded an aircraft just 18 years after the airline was founded. In 1964, CPA bought its first jet engine aircraft, namely the Convair 880.
During the 1970s, flight simulators and a computerized reservations system were installed and, in 1979, its first Boeing 747 was acquired. In 1980, this now flourishing airline applied for traffic rights to fly to London (LON). Extra services continued throughout the 1980s and the first non-stop flight to Vancouver (YVR) took to the skies in 1983. During this era, there was a worldwide boom in the airways industry which opened up routes to North America and Europe. This enabled Cathay Pacific to offer a non-stop flight to San Francisco (SFO).
Cathay Pacific went public and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May 1986. Fourteen years later, in 1990, CPA and Swire Pacific bought a significant chunk of shares in Dragonair. And, in 1994, it became a 75 percent shareholder in Air Hong Kong, a cargo airline. In the early 90s, CPA launched a massive campaign to upgrade its passenger services. At this time, its livery was changed from its longstanding white and green to its present brush wing identity.
In the mid-90s, it launched a US$9 billion program to replace its fleet of aircraft. When this was completed in 1996, Cathay Pacific had the youngest fleet in the airline industry. Three years later, its new headquarters, known as Cathay City, opened at Hong Kong International Airport.
Its old headquarters were at a complex called Swire House, named after the parent company. Although the financial crisis in Asia during the late 90s affected the airline, by 2000 it was firmly back on its feet and, that year, recorded a profit of HK$5 billion. Before Hong Kong International Airport opened, CPA had been using Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport. July 5, 1998 was a significant day in Cathay Pacific's history as Flight 251 to London took off from Kai Tak Airport for the last time. The very next day, its first aircraft to land at the new airport was Flight 889 from New York (NYC). This maiden flight was piloted by Kelvin Ma and Mike Lowes.
Cathay Pacific Flight 889 marked another aviation milestone in the fact that it was the first international transpolar journey from New York to Hong Kong. Dubbed as Polar One, the flight took only 16 hours, cutting four hours off the one-stop flight via Vancouver. It is still CPA's longest non-stop trip and one of the longest in the world. The traveling distance is 12,963 kilometers (8,055 miles).
Apart from the 36 countries and 114 destinations on five continents, Cathay Pacific Airlines is code share partners with British Airways in London and American Airlines in Los Angeles (LAX). It also serves 10 cities in France via a code share partnership with a French rail operator. Furthermore, it accesses 17 Chinese destinations through Dragonair. In 2007, it suspended its operations to the Sri Lankan city of Colombo because of security concerns linked with the closing of Bandaranaike Airport. However, in March 2008, flights between Colombo (CMB), via Singapore (SIN) and Bangkok (BKK), were resumed.
Also in 2008, it stepped up its services to Sydney (SYD), Singapore (SIN), Perth (PER), Mumbai (BOM), Dubai (DXB), Delhi (DEL), Chennai (MAA), Brisbane (BNE), and Auckland (AKL). Services to Vancouver (YVR) and Toronto (YTO) were scaled down. A further increase in services to Shanghai (SHA), Jakarta (JKT), and Paris (PAR) occurred the following year.
As from October 2010, Jeddah (JED) became CPA's second destination in Saudi Arabia. Services to San Francisco (SFO) and Brisbane (BNE) were reduced temporarily. However, the flights to and from Vancouver (YVR) and Toronto (YTO) that had been reduced in 2008, as mentioned above, were increased. Today, Cathay Pacific has flights to these destinations twice a day.
Cheap flights with Cathay Pacific will be available to Chicago (CHI) as from 1 September 2011. For these, a Boeing 777-300ER will be used. In March 201l, a fourth daily flight to New York (NYC) became available. The airline has also announced that four weekly flights in an Airbus 330-300 to Abu Dhabi (AUH) will start on 2 June 2011. This will serve as CPA'S second UAE destination to complement the existing schedule to Dubai (DXB). In addition, the airline's old branding slogan, 'It's the little things that move you', has been changed to 'Great Service. Great People. Great Fares.' Meet the Team is another advertising initiative that features Cathay Pacific employees who have inspirational stories about their career.