This Airline Was Started by Two Pilots Who Flew “The Hump”

September 24, 1946

Cathay Pacific Airways was officially established in Hong Kong. The airline’s founders were Roy C. Farrell of the United States and Sydney H. de Kantzow of Australia. Both of these men had served in the military during World War II and were among the pilots who regularly flew over “The Hump,” a vital Allied transport route above the Himalayan Mountains that provided supplies to the Chinese and the U.S. Air Force units supporting them in the fight against the Japanese. 

In deciding what to call their new airline, Farrell and de Kantzow chose “Cathay” since it was based on an ancient name for China. “Pacific” was included because Farrell envisioned that someday the airline would provide flights across that ocean (something that finally started to take place during the 1970s). 

In the maiden voyage of a Cathay Pacific plane, Farrell and de Kantzow traveled from Hong Kong to Manila in the Philippines and then to Shanghai, China. The story that Farrell came up with the idea of Cathay Pacific while hanging out with correspondents in the bar at the renowned Manila Hotel might very well be just a legend, but what is beyond dispute is that airline’s impact and reach over the decades. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world’s largest international cargo airline. For more information on the history of Cathay Pacific Airways, please check out

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