Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tom Wright

"This is an industry that never stands still. Ever-changing."

Dec 7, 3.30 pm

Tom Wright, GM, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX )


Murali said...

About the airline...
An Amazing History

The airline began as a gleam in American Roy Farrell’s eye in a remote place and at an earlier time. The time was 1942, the Second World War had reached a point when circumstances were at their bleakest. Indeed, it might be said that one of the world’s greatest international airlines emerged from the steamy confusion of a makeshift Assamese wartime airstrip.

The Allied forces had set up their headquarters in Calcutta and selected the Dinjan field in Assam, an RAF base, as being particularly suitable for launching transports across “the Hump” - an uncharted barrier of formidable mountains at the eastern end of the Himalayas.

American Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow, an Australian, were only two of many experienced Pan American fliers to put on an air force uniform and operate flights from Dinjan and Calcutta into China. This was a treacherous route to fly – Over the Himalayas and Japanese occupied Burma and then finally into China. Weather conditions were also very difficult with severe monsoons, cross winds, blizzards and downdrafts that could tear cargoes out through the bottom of aircraft. It goes without saying that the route cost many pilots their lives.

Roy Farrell flew freight from Dinjan, while Sydney de Kantzow mostly flew people from Calcutta. Strangely, the two founders of Cathay Pacific Airways did not meet on an airfield or out on assignment. Instead they met while hunting Tigers in Cooch Behar, on invitation from The Maharajah.

Through his many trips to China, Roy became aware of the many business opportunities that would be available in a post war environment. Sydney reached a similar conclusion and voiced his opinions in several publications of that time. However it was Roy who finally took the first step towards building a business.

The birth of an airline

After the war in 1945, Roy Farrell was looking for an opportunity to make his dream a reality. Following a lead on war surplus aeroplanes, he finally ‘found’ a Douglas Dakota C-47 that had appealed to him immensely. He had ‘found’ Betsy. He made the necessary payments to acquire the plane and flew her to New York to be converted for civilian use from a C-47 to a DC-3. After readying his cargo he recruited 2 staff, and made his long way to Shanghai, China.

On his arrival, he quickly adapted his import export business to cater to the goods in demand in China and opened an office in Shanghai. The business got off to a good start and soon started expanding with the purchase of another new C47 that was quickly named ‘Nikki’. It was at about that time that Sydney de Kantzow reappeared from Calcutta and walked into the office at Shanghai looking to partner the business. He was welcomed with open arms and soon started flying for the “Roy Farrell Export Co.”

Over time, the partners started to consider shifting base to Hong Kong for a number of reasons; geographically, Hong Kong was at the centre of trade and lay in the heart of the region. Secondly it was free from the political torment that was racking Mainland China at that time.

However, post war Hong Kong was far from a pretty sight and the infrastructure at Kai Tak airport left much to be desired. The partners soon found that shifting their business to Hong Kong was also not going to be easy. At that time the British Legal system stated that to register any aviation company in Hong Kong, it had to be two-thirds British owned. The American ownership of the company was therefore converted to a shared British ownership with Neil Buchanan appointed as an employee based in Hong Kong. With that, the new Hong Kong based “British” company applied for permission to carry Hong Kong registration letters. The colony’s Civil Aviation Department subsequently registered the first two aircraft Betsy and Nikki as VR-HDB and VR-HDA respectively which have later become the most famous in the history of aviation in Hong Kong. But the new company needed a name.

The uniquely imaginative name for the airline also has an interesting story. According to Roy Farrell, while in Manila, he invited several foreign correspondents from Time-Life and Newsweek to a bar at the very grand Manila Hotel. He asked them for assistance in choosing a name for his airline in Hong Kong and the only pre-requisite was that the name should have ‘Cathay’ in it. Thus was born Cathay Pacific Airways - Cathay the ancient name for China and Pacific as the group had the incredible foresight to predict that one day the airline would be flying across the Pacific.

The articles of association of Cathay Pacific Airways were then drawn up by the solicitors in Hong Kong and were dated 24 September 1946.

The new company began to operate passenger flights to Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai. Expansion was fast and, in 1948, Roy and Sydney sold the ownership of their company to one of Hong Kong's leading trading companies, Butterfield & Swire (today known as the Swire Group), which took a 45% share in the company, whilst retaining 10% each for themselves. The company was now 90% British owned. Under the leadership of John Kidston Swire, Butterfield & Swire became wholly responsible for the management of the airline.

Spreading it’s wings.
At first, Cathay Pacific remained a largely regional airline that flew the routes to and from Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Haiphong, Saigon, Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, labuan, Rangoon and Calcutta. Calcutta, known today as Kolkata, was the first port in India that Cathay Pacific commenced operations in 1952. Making way for more modern aircraft, Besty, the beloved of the founders of the airline, was sold in 1955 to an Australian firm.

The 1960s represented the airline’s coming of age. Between 1962 and 1967, with the growth of tourism and the advance of the Jet Age, business grew at an average rate of 20 percent a year. Cathay Pacific Airways also initiated international services to Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya in Japan.

In the early 1970s, Cathay Pacific Airways started to make use of the latest technology with a computerized reservation system and flight simulators. The first Boeing 747-200 arrived in Hong Kong in mid-1979, and by the end of the year, the airline had applied for traffic rights to start flying to London. The company continued to remain a private company without any Government backing or subsidy and started to be considered as one of the worlds most successful commercial aviation operations. As more B747's joined the airline’s fleet, Cathay Pacific Airways expanded services to Europe and North America, fulfilling Roy Farrell’s dream to fly across the Pacific.

The 1980s was a spectacular decade for the airline industry. Amidst a worldwide economic boom - spearheaded by Asia, more business travellers, tourists and cargo were flying than ever before. It was during this decade that Cathay Pacific Airways expanded its international network to include London, Brisbane, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Rome, San Francisco, Paris, Zurich, Bombay and Manchester. It was also in 1983 that Betsy was brought back home to Hong Kong after an absence of over 25 years.

The early 90s were a difficult time for the airline industry. Nonetheless, Cathay Pacific Airways remained positive, safe in the knowledge that Hong Kong was arguably the best location in the world for an airline. At the same time, the airline launched a new programme to offer unprecedented levels of passenger service and also made another important decision – to change the green and white striped livery to the dynamic and now famous Asian "brushstroke" image.

By the mid-1990s, Cathay Pacific Airways had assembled a fleet of aircraft that was at the time, the youngest in the world. The replacement programme involved orders and options for US$9 billion in new aircraft – all of which were to create a fleet that is younger, more efficient and quieter. While passenger services continued to grow from strength to strength, the cargo division was also beginning to play an increasingly vital role in the company's growth and expansion. Today, cargo services contribute almost 30 percent of the airline’s revenue.

A New Home
1998 saw the completion of the brand new state-of-the-art airport at Chek-lap-kok on Lantau Island. The airline invested over 1 billion US dollars in the new airport, which was built with the aim of enabling it to cope with a capacity to handle 87 million passengers a year by 2040. The first commercial aircraft to touch down at the new airport was Cathay Pacific flight CX889 from New York to Hong Kong. This flight, known as "Polar One", had itself made history by being the first commercial flight to go over the North Pole, cutting 5 hours from the usual transit time between the two cities.

Cathay Pacific City, the airline’s headquarters located at Hong Kong International Airport, was completed in the middle of 1999. The new complex is another symbol of the airline’s confidence in the future of Hong Kong.

The Millennium
The airline entered the new millennium in full stride, recording a record HK$5 million profit in 2000. Yet in following years Cathay Pacific Airways faced some of it greatest commercial challenges: September 11, a second Gulf War and SARS.

Undaunted, the airline led efforts to get Hong Kong back onto its feet with the “I love HK” promotion, helping the city recover after SARS. Efforts were then made to strengthen Hong Kong's links to other global hubs, with ultiple daily services to London, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, along with increased frequencies to other major long-haul and regional destinations.

arachi, Delhi and Sapporo became new destinations and the airline’s collaboration with oneworld partner American Airlines was extended to incorporate more than 20 cities in the United States.

In 2002, Cathay Pacific Airways and DHL became joint venture partners in Air Hong Kong, which now has a brand new fleet of eight Airbus 300 freighter aircraft and created an expanding regional network for express overnight cargo deliveries.

In December 2003 another significant milestone was achieved when the airline resumed passenger services to Beijing. Later Cathay commenced passenger services to Xiamen and freighter services to Shanghai. The opening of this important new chapter in it’s history strengthens Hong Kong’s position as the predominant gateway to the Chinese Mainland.

Present & Future
Today, Cathay Pacific Airways has been recognised for setting the industry standard for service, winning more than 100 awards. In 2005, Cathay Pacific Airways was voted "Airline of the Year" in the world's largest passenger poll conducted by Skytrax Research. Now it has been named 'Airline of the Year 2006' by Air Transport World magazine – fine recognition in it’s 60th anniversary year.

The future for Cathay Pacific Airways looks very bright. It has recently integrated with it’s sister concern Dragonair, which provides the airline group with the potential to expand regional operations in Mainland China, while assisting to support and sustain it’s international network. This new airline group strengthens Hong Kong’s position as the primary southern gateway into Mainland China and as the world’s leading aviation hub.

On it’s 60th anniversary, Cathay Pacific Airways has taken off on Diamond Wings.

Murali said...


Cathay Pacific Airways first set up office in India in 1952 in Calcutta and started flight operations in 1953 from Hong Kong to Calcutta via Bangkok. This route was served till 1970.

In 1976 Cathay Pacific relocated its head office in India to Mumbai. The airline started it’s operations from Mumbai with 4 flights a week in 1982. These flights operated from Hong Kong via Bangkok to Bombay and on to Dubai. In addition, 2 flights a week were operated on the Hong Kong-Bangkok-Bombay-Abu Dhabi route. In 1986 Cathay Pacific discontinued the Abu Dhabi route through India. Instead the airline operated a thrice-weekly flight to Dubai via Bangkok and Bombay, along with one flight to Bombay via Bangkok and vice versa. In 1989, Cathay Pacific Airways extended its fourth flight to Dubai out of Bombay, thereby offering its passengers a choice of four flights to Dubai via Bangkok and Bombay. The aircraft on this route was upgraded to the B747-200.

In 1999, the aircraft on the route to and from Bombay was upgraded to the B777-300 series, the latest aircraft in the CX fleet at the time.

26 March 2001 saw the launch of a new route to India. New Delhi was declared the latest online port in India to which Cathay Pacific Airways operated four non-stop direct flights from Hong Kong. The Airbus A330-300 was deployed on this route.

Cathay Pacific flies four times a week from Delhi to Hong Kong, four times a week from Mumbai to Hong Kong via Bangkok and four times a week to Dubai from Mumbai. The aircraft deployed on the Delhi route is the Airbus A330-300 & on the Mumbai route is Boeing 777-300.

Cathay Pacific Airways also has a freighter network of 31 destinations with 6 flights to Mumbai, 8 flights to New Delhi and 2 flights to Chennai.

Murali said...

About Tom Wright...

Tom Wright is the Regional General Manager for Cathay Pacific Airways based in Mumbai. After an early life in Kenya he moved to England. Following a period in the British Army he joined the airline, where he has served in a number of different posts and countries. A family man he is also passionate about travel, music and food.

One more...

Cathay Pacific Overview

Cathay Pacific Airways is a Hong Kong-based airline offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to 105 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of 103 wide-body aircraft. The passenger fleet includes Boeing 747-400s, B777-300s, B777-200s, Airbus A340-300s and A340-600s and A330-300s. The freighter fleet consists of B747-400, B747-200 and B747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter).

Cathay Pacific employs more than 16,400 staff. The company is a publicly company listed on the Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges. Cathay Pacific holds 100 percent of Dragonair and 60 percent stake in Air Hong Kong Limited.

Cathay Pacific's other subsidiaries include Cathay Pacific Catering Services (HK) Limited, Cathay Holidays Limited, Vogue Laundry Services Limited, Hong Kong Airport Services Limited, Abacus Distribution Systems (HK) Limited, and Global Logistics System (HK) Company Limited. Together, the Cathay Pacific Group employs more than 25,000 staff.

Cathay Pacific is a founder member of the oneworld alliance. There are ten member airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Finnair, Malév Hungarian, LAN, Royal Jordanian and Qantas. Dragonair, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador will join oneworld later in the year.


Murali said...

Info source...

Shahab Shaikh
Concept PR

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