Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Off the Ground over a Beer; over a Philosophical Glass or Eight They Came Up with Cathay Pacific .

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Off the Ground over a Beer; over a Philosophical Glass or Eight They Came Up with Cathay Pacific .

Article excerpt

Byline: david ellis

THE first thing most would-be company owners do when musing over what to call their new outfit is to bring in the big guns of marketing, advertising, logo design and corporate law.

But back in 1946 two blokes who were to create what would become one of the world's most successful airlines, had no interest in such normal business practicalities: instead, one simply went to a Manila pub to get inspiration there, telling some foreign correspondent mates he drank with when visiting the Philippines, that he wanted a name for an airline he was planning with a business partner in Hong Kong.

Over a philosophical glass or eight the wordsmiths came up with Cathay Pacific -"Cathay" being the historic name for China, and "Pacific" because the partners wanted to one day fly to Australia.

And so an airline was born, its owners Roy Farrell, an American and Sydney de Kantzow, an Australian having known each other from their World War II flying days in Asia, each had a vision for an airline linking China, Asia and Australia.

Both had business interests in Shanghai, but moved to Hong Kong where they paid HK$2 to register their partnership, and in September 1946 launched Cathay Pacific with a cheap surplus US Air Force Douglas DC-3 they dubbed "Betsy."

It was an instant success, and an import-export company they set up to generate airfreight business equally so - particularly de Kantzow's idea to fly fresh Sydney rock oysters to Hong Kong for luxury-strapped British expats.

To meet demand for seats and airfreight the partners bought a second DC-3 within a few months, five more the following year and two Catalina flying boats to operate to the Portuguese colony of Macao off the coast of China; in their first six months they carried 3000 passengers and 15,000 kilograms of cargo between Asia and Australia alone

But like most airlines, turbulence lay in wait for the fledgling Cathay Pacific, and in 1948 the British Governor of colonial Hong Kong dropped the bombshell that as "foreigners" the partners could in fact not own more than 20 per cent of their own airline. They would need a British partner who would relieve them of 80 per cent. …

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