More than 70 years ago, former Air Force pilots Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow founded an airline with a mission to cross the Pacific Ocean. The ambition was embedded in the name – Cathay Pacific – and in 30 years, that goal was achieved, with services from China to the Americas.
In the years since, Cathay Pacific has evolved from a small regional carrier to one of the world’s great airlines, growing an extensive global network and redefining the long-haul travel experience. Today, the airline has a modern, connected fleet, airport lounges that have set standards in comfort, and continues to pioneer new routes linked to its vibrant home of Hong Kong.
‘The story of that evolution is characterised by innovation and ambition – pushing the physical and technical boundaries of long-haul flying, to being the first to enter new markets,’ says Cathay Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg.
And indeed, it has always been an airline to set the agenda. It was the first to fly from Hong Kong to Vancouver; the first to fly non-stop to London; the first to fly over the North Pole non-stop to New York. It introduced the first lie-flat seats to Asia and, in 2001, it was the first airline in the world to offer online check-in.
‘Through it all, there has been an enduring thread that defines us; a belief that great service will always be valued, that our style of service is what makes us different and better,’ says Hogg.
Now that philosophy has found new expression in a single statement for the future – two words, which can be traced back to the airline’s founders themselves: Move Beyond. Two words, one lofty ambition.
Move Beyond is an opportunity to look back with pride at the past and channel the assurance and panache shown by Farrell and de Kantzow back in 1946.
‘By looking back at history, we wanted something that brought some of the swagger and confidence of the brand that might have slipped over the past decade or so,’ explains Cathay Pacific’s Head of Brand Ruaraidh Smeaton. ‘We wanted a brand purpose that would put us back on the front foot – we are a great airline, but how do we get even better than that? With Move Beyond, our aim is to be one of the world’s greatest service brands.’
Note – not ‘airline brand’ but ‘service brand’. It’s a big call, but for an airline with a long-standing reputation for excellence regarding its service, it’s an acknowledgement that the online retail world and the service industry have heightened consumer expectations. The aviation world has changed, too, with increased competition across all market sectors, which makes it harder still for an airline to tell the world what it stands for.
‘We do more than move people from A to B,’ says Smeaton. ‘We aim to move them emotionally with our thoughtful service, and we move them forward in life through our ability to connect people with meaningful places, people and experiences. This is the North Star we will all point towards.’
The aim, says Smeaton, is ‘to treat every journey as our customers’ most important journey, setting them up for what lies ahead.’
This means that personal, premium service will continue onboard and in the lounges – but these will run in tandem with ever-improving booking, check-in and airport experiences.
CEO Rupert Hogg explains: ‘Technology and access to information have transformed what great service means. To compete, we must be progressive, while maintaining the thoughtful, can-do spirit, which epitomises Cathay Pacific.’
In technical and practical terms, Cathay Pacific is perfectly placed to do this. ‘We have one of the youngest fleets in the world – filled with new seats, inflight entertainment, Wi-Fi and more,’ adds Hogg. ‘This provides the perfect platform for our special service and outstanding team to shine.’
And that service will be channelled through the values that underpin the Move Beyond brand – ‘thoughtful’, ‘can-do’ and ‘progressive’.
‘Thoughtful means that we will go to great lengths to understand our customers and treat them the way we would like to be treated,’ explains Smeaton. ‘Progressive is inspired by our Hong Kong home and the dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region we serve. The can-do spirit is about inspiring trust and confidence by solving problems with positivity and determination – in short, putting our heart and soul into supporting you.’
They’re values that Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow would have approved of, even when Cathay Pacific was nothing more than a name; than an airplane; than a mission: to Move Beyond.
A vapour trail now follows the iconic Cathay Pacific brushwing as it crosses over advertisements and customer communications, along with new and elegant typography. This design element encapsulates the brand’s newfound ambition. ‘It’s a simple graphic device that brings our brushwing logo to life and adds a sense of dynamism, movement and purpose,’ says Head of Brand Ruaraidh Smeaton.