Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is one of the most iconic names in civil aviation. The airline has come a long way since its foundation and has made a name for itself in both Asia and across the globe. Let’s take a deep dive into CX its performance data, operations and fleet.

When Was Cathay Pacific’s First Flight?

Cathay along with being one of the most famous legacy airlines out there is also one of the oldest major carriers still active. The airline started flying way back on September 24th 1946. Its first flights were operated using a prop aircraft. Specifically a Douglas DC-3 nicknamed Betsy. Still today as of March 2024 Betsy is on display in Hong Kong’s Science Museum.

Founders of the airline where American Roy C. Farrell and Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow.

Where is Cathay Pacific Based?

The airline can be considered to be the flag carrier of Hong Kong. The airline is operates and is based at Hong Kong’s International Airport. The only city’s airport which took over after the much beloved by AvGeeks Kai Tak airport closed down in 1998.

Who Owns Cathay Pacific?

Ownership of the airline is split mainly among 3 big entities:

  • Swire, relative majority stake holder with 42%
  • Air China holding 28%
  • Qatar Airways holding 9.5%

As the largest share holder in the airline Swire also applies its logo on Cathay’s planes. You can see the logo and name of the parent company just forward of the tail fin complex on every CX airliner.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 Vertical Stabiliser. The airline no longer operates the aircraft type for passenger transport but only for its cargo operations.

Which Alliance Is Cathay Pacific Part of?

CX (Cathay Pacific) is one of 5 founding members of the OneWorld alliance, which was set up in 1999. With Canadian Airlines International no longer existing CX is one of only 4 active founding OneWorld members.

The other founding members of the alliance being:

  • Qantas
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Canadian Airlines International (no longer operational)

The Cathay Passenger Fleet

Cathay Pacific’s fleet features a great number of wide body aircraft. This is no surprise as many routes the airline flies are either ULRs or high demand and capacity ones. Therefore in many occasions the use of a wide body plane is a necessity. The only single aisle narrow body planes are the Airbus A321 in both ceo and neo variants.

Airbus Logo AirbusA330-30034
Boeing Logo Boeing777-300ER33
Airbus Logo AirbusA350-90028
Airbus Logo AirbusA350-100018
Airbus Logo AirbusA321neo12
Boeing Logo Boeing777-30010
Airbus Logo AirbusA321-2002

CX is one of the few airlines to use the original 777-300 variant, still having 10 operational in its fleet. It also operates a much larger number (33) of the more common 777-300ER variant.

The Cathay Cargo Fleet

Cathay Pacific also operates an extensive cargo network under the Cathay Cargo brand which features an all Boeing 747 fleet.

Boeing Logo Boeing747-8F14
Boeing Logo Boeing747-400F6

Where Does Cathay Currently Fly?

As of July 2023 the airline operates scheduled services to:

  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Asia
  • Middle East
  • Europe
  • North America

There are no flights in the CX network to both South America and Africa.

How Many Passengers Does Cathay Pacific Carry?

Cathay Pacific was one of the airlines which suffered the most from the covid outbreak. Hong Kong, along with mainland China, had some of the most harsh restrictions in the world when it comes to travel. Therefore the airline has been struggling to make its way back to its prior glory. Month after month though figures have been giving Cathay a reason to be hopeful looking to the future.

Number of passengers transported per month of the year:

YearMonthPassengers TransportedLoad Factor

Which Airlines Are Part of The Group?

Cathay Pacific, apart from its cargo division, controls other two standalone airlines as well. One cargo and one low cost carrier. Specifically these are:

  • HK Express – Low Cost Carrier
  • Air Hong Kong – All Cargo Airline

HK Express’ core business is to offer cheap flights to east Asia and southeast Asia from its base in Chek Lap Kok at Hong Kong’s International Airport (HKG).