With the aviation industry facing a host of challenges on the eve of Cathay Pacific’s 70th Anniversary, Chief Executive Ivan Chu discusses how a new fleet of aircraft, greater offerings for passengers and more imaginative destinations will ensure long-term success.
When Cathay Pacific was founded as a small regional carrier after World War II, few could have predicted how strong a pivotal role it would play in the development of Hong Kong as Asia’s World City. But for Ivan Chu, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific, the fortunes of the airline and its home city have grown hand-in-hand.
“Seventy years ago, I don’t think it was ever envisaged that Cathay Pacific would become the world-class network carrier we are today; but with Hong Kong’s growth as a manufacturing centre in the 1950s, through to becoming a major financial centre in the ’70s and ’80s, we have always been here. If you look at the city’s pillar industries – financial services, tourism, trading and logistics, professional and producer services – there are 3,500 regional headquarters here, making Hong Kong an important centre, and we have played a major supporting role in that,” he says.
Chu, who has worked for Swire for the past 32 years, was appointed Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific in 2014 and is also Chairman of Dragonair – soon to be rebranded as Cathay Dragon. In leading Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, he takes pride in its illustrious history and association with the city’s growth. Although the airline has had many triumphs over the years, it is now – like all airlines globally – facing a slew of challenges unique to our time.
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