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Cathay celebrates 40 years since linking HK and Sydney

October 23, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59This is a big week for Cathay Pacific. Forty years have passed since the first Cathay Pacific flight took off from Hong Kong for Sydney to start a relationship that has provided continuous non-stop service between the two cities. The anniversary of the first scheduled commercial flight on the route fell yesterday.

To mark the anniversary, the airline recreated an image from its famous 1974 ad in Martin Place (see below). Forty years ago Captain Hal Dyball (then First Officer) walked down Sydney’s Martin Place as part of a photo shoot to promote Cathay Pacific’s new service Sydney to Hong Kong that began on 21 October 1974. He’s the man to the right of the black-and-white photo, carrying the bag.

Fast forward to yesterday and Captain Dyball (retired) was joined by six Cathay Pacific flight attendants dressed in the airline’s uniforms through the decades as they paraded through Martin Place. The flight attendants (and their uniforms) are in Sydney to help celebrate the airline’s 40th anniversary with a number of special events for staff, customers and travel industry.

Since 1974, Cathay Pacific Airways has flown over 10 million passengers between Sydney and Hong Kong and beyond in that time and has become one of Australia’s favourite airlines.

From its early days of just three flights a week in 1974 on a Boeing 707, today Cathay Pacific passengers from Sydney have a choice of 28 flights a week (or four a day).

James Barrington, Director Corporate Development was in Sydney for the celebrations.

“Forty years is an incredibly long time and we are incredibly grateful to Australians for their long support of what was then quaintly described as an ‘Oriental’ airline,” he said.unnamed (13)

“Sydney is an incredibly important part of our network and our growth has been very steady over the years. From the Boeing 707, we have seen many types of aircraft deployed on the route including 747s, Airbus A330s and from later this year, we will add a 777-300ER which will increase our capacity.”

“We like to offer our passengers a choice of departure times – two morning, one afternoon, one evening – so they leave and arrive at times that are convenient to them and I believe this is a great part of our appeal for people flying to and from Sydney, along with our award-winning service, of course!”

Barrington also pointed out the airline was founded by an Australian, Sydney de Kantzow, almost 70 years ago, along with his American friend Roy Farrell and Cathay Pacific’s first commercial flight was bringing cargo to Sydney back in 1946.

The story of Cathay Pacific’s first ever commercial flight to Sydney is a colourful one. De Kantzow and Farrell brought Cathay’s DC-3, named Betsy, to the city filled with boxes of day-old baby chicks. The kind-hearted crew, concerned the tiny birds would stifle in the heat over the tropics, opened the cartons to give them air. The cabin was soon filled with flightless baby birds racing to and fro. The crew, thankfully, managed eventually to return the small birds to their cartons.

As Barrington pointed out, the airline’s freight business between Sydney and Hong Kong really began in earnest in 1974 and today Cathay Pacific carries a great deal of cargo in the belly of its passenger planes as well as its 747 freighters.

Over the past 40 years, the Cathay Pacific network around the world has grown to over 190 destinations in 47 countries including nine European destinations, and many same-day connections. The airline also flies to more than 20 destinations in China with its sister airline Dragonair.

“Air travel has come a long way since those early days. Forty years ago, we offered two classes of service – First and Economy – Business Class simply hadn’t been invented. More recently still we have introduced premium economy class which has been well received,” Barrington added.

“Inflight entertainment consisted of packs of playing cards or for those fortunate enough to be in First Class, watching the flight attendants carve the rack of lamb! It’s nothing near the thousand different film, TV, music and games options now available on our StudioCX inflight entertainment program. But one thing remains true is to always provide the best service to our passengers”

Cathay Pacific four times daily schedule between Sydney and Hong Kong is currently:

Sydney to Hong Kong Hong Kong to Sydney
CX100 1500/2135 CX101 2355/1205+1
CX110 0830/1515 CX111 1850/0710+1
CX138 2220/0500+1 CX139 0850/2100
CX162 1100/1750 CX161 2130/0940+1

Edited by : Peter Needham

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