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Most of the airline's aircraft were registered in Hong Kong with a registration beginning with "VR".
The flight, dubbed Polar One, takes about 16 hours between Hong Kong and New York Kennedy, saving about three to four hours compared to the one stop flight via Vancouver.
It is Cathay Pacific's longest nonstop flight, and one of the longest in the world at 8,055 mi (12,963 km).
The company began freight services in January 1946 with two DC-3s between Australia and China (its first commercial flight was a shipment of clothes from Sydney to Shanghai), but the profitable business soon attracted attention from Republic of China government officials.
After several instances where the company's planes were detained by authorities in Shanghai, on the company relocated, flying its two planes to Hong Kong.
The airline celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006; and as of October 2009, its major shareholders are Swire Pacific and Air China.
Expansion continued into the 1980s, with nonstop service to Vancouver in 1983, with continuing service on to San Francisco in 1986 when an industry-wide boom encouraged route growth to many European and North American centres.In 1994 the airline invested in a new corporate identity, with a 23 million Hong Kong dollar (RM 7.3 million) program to update its image.
According to legend, the airline's unique name was conceived by Farrell and some foreign correspondents at the bar of the Manila Hotel.On Cathay Pacific's maiden voyage, Farrell and de Kantzow flew from Hong Kong to Manila, and later on to Shanghai.The airline initially flew routes between Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, and Canton, while scheduled service was limited to Bangkok, Manila, and Singapore only. By 1947, it had added another three DC-3s and a Vickers Catalina seaplane to its fleet.On November 6, 2017, Qatar Airways acquired a 9.6% shareholding of Cathay Pacific, becoming its 3rd largest shareholder.It is one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance.On 1 July 1997, the administration of Hong Kong was transferred from the UK to the People's Republic of China as part of the Hong Kong handover.