Cathay Pacific is well known as one of the most prevalent air carriers in the world. They have developed a reputation over the years, and for the most part, it’s been for all the right reasons. If you want to know more about this remarkable airline, all you really need to do is keep reading. Below are twenty things about them that you may not already be aware of.
1. They’ve been in business for a very long time
As a matter of fact, the airline first went into business in the 1940s. Their first flight was on September 24th, 1946. Since that date, they have been operating consistently and for the most part, they have been able to expand into ever-larger operations. While they have seen their fair share of increases and decreases in business, just as any other air carrier does, they have managed to outperform most other airlines over the course of the 70 plus years that they've been in business. Clearly, they have been doing something right all this time because many of the airlines that went into business around the same time ceased operations quite some time ago.
2. Their headquarters is located in their home city
The airline has long been based at the airport in Hong Kong but they also have their headquarters there. Locally, this headquarters is even referred to as Cathay City. In reality, it's quite a remarkable building and people know right away that it’s not something you’re likely to see everyday.
3. They don’t only fly passengers
Obviously, this is an airline that is well-known for flying passengers but they certainly don't stop there. What you might not be as aware of is the fact that they also fly a great deal of cargo each and every year. More will be discussed about just how much cargo they fly on a yearly basis later on in this article but for now, you might like to know that they keep themselves very busy flying both passengers and virtually anything else.
4. They fly into and out of a lot of different places
This is not an airline that only flies in and around Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, they fly in many different areas and they traverse the globe on a number of occasions. Currently, they have 77 different destinations that they routinely fly into and out of. As you can see, this truly does make them a global airline, something that they have worked very hard to create.
5. They provide service to several countries
At last count, they were flying in as many as 60 different countries. Needless to say, that’s enough to keep the airline very busy, indeed. Fortunately, they have both the flight crew members and the aircraft to handle such a high demand. Otherwise, they might find it difficult to keep pace with all of the different places they are required to fly in.
6. They’re often considered the gold standard in air carrier operations
Many people consider this to be the airline from which everything else should be measured. They have an excellent safety rating and they're also well-known for their ability to produce a great deal of luxury in their first class cabins. Everything they do is essentially done to a higher standard and for that reason and that reason alone, they are frequently considered to be the example that sets the bar for everyone else.
7. They operate some of the best aircraft in the skies today
This is an airline that has always been known for flying high quality aircraft. In order to use a particular aircraft, it has to be safe and it must be functional. Using that same formula, they currently fly aircraft like the Airbus A380 and A350, as well as the Boeing 777. The idea is to utilize aircraft that have an excellent safety and performance record that are also large enough to comfortably seat a large number of passengers for long transcontinental flights.
8. They are directly related to Cathay Dragon
They also have a subsidiary airline, Cathay Dragon, that handles flights of a shorter nature. They utilize passenger jets, but they don't use the massive aircraft that Cathay Pacific does. Instead, their jets are more similar in size to the Boeing 727 and similar aircraft. They also operate shorter flights, ranging from two to four hours and even short hops.
9. The airline was founded by an American and an Australian
You might think it's odd that the airline ended up being based in Hong Kong when you consider the fact that the idea for its existence came into being between an American and an Australian. These two came together in order to form the airline, yet it never has been based in either America or Australia.
10. They carry more than one million tons of cargo each year
To be more exact, they typically carry about 1.8 million tons of cargo on a yearly basis. That is an unbelievable amount of cargo and when you stop and think about the number of flights that are required to transport that much cargo, it's somewhat mind-boggling. They have a fleet of newer Boeing 747s that they use exclusively for their cargo runs. Once again, it's all about safety and performance, as well as finding an aircraft big enough to handle the task at hand.
11. The airline flies millions of passengers every year
If you think 1.8 million tons of cargo is a lot, consider this. They fly more than 25 million passengers each year. As a matter of fact, they flew a little over 27 million passengers last year alone. As you can see, many people are excited about the idea of flying on this airline. For the most part, people have a tendency to choose Cathay Pacific over other air carriers whenever they have the option to do so. Clearly, the numbers back this up.
12. They’re considered the tenth largest airline in the world
Despite the staggering numbers, they're only considered the 10th largest airline in the world. That's largely because even though they fly to 77 destinations and they operate in more than 60 countries, they still don't have the far-reaching influence that some other airlines have. Much of this is actually by design, as the airline is far more concerned with maintaining quality of operations over quantity.
13. They are frequently considered the go-to airline when it comes to luxury
If you know anything at all about your travel, then you know that this is an airline that is frequently mentioned when it comes to luxury. They are well known for having one of the best first class cabins out of any air carrier in the skies. It's not just about the seats or the room, although those are definite pluses. It's also about the atmosphere. Cathay Pacific doesn't leave anything undone, and because of that they have an excellent reputation for making you feel like you're in a five-star hotel the entire time that you're on the airplane. You even get your very own suite so you don't have to put up with anyone else around you unless you want to. Of course, if you are the social type, you can always visit the lounge and bar located in their first class cabin. That will give you plenty of time to socialize with other passengers.
14. They have more than 100 airplanes in their current fleet
Currently, they fly 177 aircraft. At any given moment, the overwhelming majority of those aircraft are operating on a daily basis. While some of them might be down for routine maintenance or to install upgrades, most of them spend the majority of their lives in the air. That is one reason that the airline chose aircraft that were reliable and had a long service life to begin with. That way, they're less likely to spend a lot of time on the ground because they need maintenance and they can spend their time in the air flying passengers and cargo like they were designed to do.
15. Their very first aircraft was a Douglas DC-3
Back in the 1940s, the DC-3 was considered one of the toughest and most reliable aircraft in the world. It quickly became a favorite for air carriers and it was in fact the very first aircraft that Cathay Pacific ever flew.
16. That airplane still exists today
Today, you can see that airplane for yourself if you visit the Hong Kong Museum of Science. For years, this DC-3 ferried passengers back and forth to various destinations. When its service life had ended, Cathay Pacific had the foresight not to sell the aircraft or destroy it for scrap like so many other aircraft have met their fate. Instead, they held onto it because they knew that it was special, being the first aircraft they ever operated. Eventually, as the airline’s legacy grew, people became more and more interested in seeing this particular airplane for themselves. Eventually, an agreement was reached to restore the aircraft to its original condition and allow it to stay at the Hong Kong Museum of Science so everyone could come see it. It's still there to this day.
17. They used to have a seaplane in their fleet
There aren't that many air carriers that operate seaplanes and these days, it's extremely rare that you ever see one no matter who you're talking about. However, there was a time when Cathay Pacific operated a Vickers V-2 seaplane. This is an interesting bit of history about the airline and it also ties in with the golden age of aviation when things were new and exciting for so many people as they experienced air travel for themselves.
18. They also used to fly Lockheed L-1011 aircraft
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Lockheed L-1011 was considered one of the most modern aircraft that had ever come along. Virtually every airline was clamoring to get a hold of one. As a result, you could find them no matter where you looked and at the time, Cathay Pacific also operated a fair share of them. These jets were popular because they were fast and even though they weren't as large as some of the other aircraft as far as length goes, they were known as a wide-body jet, meaning that they had not two but three rows of seats inside. This meant the jet could fly a large number of passengers and it could get the job done in less time than most of the aircraft that had come before it. Even though it was a passenger favorite, it was eventually phased out by the airline as technology changed and the need for the aircraft waned.
19. You can check in at remote kiosks at some locations
One of the benefits of flying on Cathay Pacific is that you don't always have to stand in long lines and wait for somebody at the ticket counter to deal with your needs. Depending on the location in question, you might be able to go straight to one of their lounges and check in at a Cathay Pacific kiosk that makes everything flow like clockwork. It's a much faster way to check in and if you happen to be part of their rewards program, you can take full advantage of these kiosks at any destination where they are offered.
20. Last year, the airline suffered a massive data breach
Even though the airline has had a rich and storied history, that doesn't mean that everything has always gone the way they want it to. Just last year, the airline suffered a massive data breach where not only names and dates of birth were obtained by hackers, but also passport information and other personal data. Over half of the passengers that flew within the previous year were affected. This forced Cathay Pacific to release information about the data breach to every passenger that might have potentially been affected. This always seems to give companies a big black eye but the way this one handled it was admirable. They let people know right away and offered to assist them as much as possible. It's just one more example of them taking care of their customers.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker