Cathay Pacific is an Asian airline based in Hong Kong . It currently operates as a scheduled airline passenger and cargo. Its main basis is the Hong Kong International Airport , from where it operates flights to over 50 destinations in Africa , Asia , Europe , North America and Oceania . It is one of only six airlines that have been rated five-star Skytrax , along with Qatar Airways , Singapore Airlines , Asiana Airlines , Kingfisher Airlines and Malaysia Airlines .

Cathay Pacific was founded in Hong Kong on September 24 of 1946 by American Roy Farrell and Australian Sydney Kantzow, both former Air Force pilot and familiar with the route over the Himalaya Mountains. Each put $ 1 in Hong Kong to register the airline. At first they settled in Shanghai, but eventually moved to Hong Kong to start a new airline with Cathay Pacific. The story goes that the airline was conceived by Farrell and some foreign correspondents at the bar of the Manila Hotel. They called Cathay , as it was an ancient name given to China , and Pacific , Pacific Ocean, because they believed that one day fly across the Pacific Ocean to the United States . In the first flight of Cathay Pacific, Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow flew from Hong Kong to Manila, and later to Shanghai. His only aircraft was a Douglas C-47 .

The company began flying to Manila , Bangkok , Singapore and Shanghai , but were only scheduled flights between Manila, Singapore and Bangkok. In 1948 Butterfield & Swire (now known as the Swire Group) bought 45% of Cathay Pacific, Ansett was left with 35% and Farrell and Kantzow 10% each. The new company began operations on July 1, 1948 and was registered as Cathay Pacific Limited on 18 October. Swire later acquired 52% of Cathay Pacific and today the airline is still part of the Swire Group through Swire Pacific.

The airline prospered in the 60′s . He bought his rival Hong Kong Airways in 1959 , growth recorded twice in 1967, acquired its first reactor, the Convair 880 and started international routes to Osaka , Fukuoka and Nagoya in Japan. In 1966 the airline had transported a million passengers. Expansion continued throughout the years 1970 and especially in the years 1980 , when a boom-wide airline industry caused the growth of the routes to many European centers and Cathay Pacific went public in 1986. In January 1990, Cathay Pacific and its owner company, Swire Pacific, acquired a significant portion of the shares of Dragonair and 60% of the cargo airline Air Hong Kong. Still, Cathay Pacific was hit by the Asian recession of the late 1990′s , undergoing a reorganization and developing a new identity.

In 1996 the Chinese CITIC bought 25% of Cathay Pacific. Part owned by Swire Group was reduced to 44% since two Chinese companies, CNAC and CTS also bought substantial parts of the company. In September 1998 Cathay Pacific became a founding partner of the alliance Oneworld . In 2004 the airline had a turnover of 39.065 million Hong Kong dollars and a profit of 4.417 million. On 9 June 2006 , Cathay Pacific underwent a reorganization of its shares since Dragonair would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, although it will operate under the name of Dragonair. In addition, Air China and its subsidiary CNAC Ltd would acquire 17.5% of Cathay Pacific, but it would double its stake in Air China to be 20%. CITIC would reduce its stake to 17.5% and Swire reduced his once again to 40%.

In 2006 the airline celebrated its 60th anniversary this year made ​​a tour followed by shows in which he called Cathay Pacific 60th Anniversary Skyshow , where the public could view the events of the airline during the last 60 years, playing games, meet with staff of the airline and see old uniforms. Cathay Pacific also introduced products on its 60th anniversary and in-flight meals served by famous restaurants in Hong Kong in collaboration with the celebrations.