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Vintage aircraft brings the past alive at Cathay Pacific headquarters in airline's 60th anniversary year

04 Sep 2006

Cathay Pacific Airways has a new symbol to mark six decades of serving Hong Kong in the shape of a classic DC3 aircraft that now stands proud outside its headquarters complex, Cathay Pacific City.

The DC3, an exact replica of the airline’s second aircraft, Niki, has been painted in the second Cathay Pacific livery from the late 1940s. Niki became the sister to the airline’s famous first aircraft, Betsy, soon after the airline commenced operations in 1946.

The original Betsy already resides in Hong Kong, taking pride of place in the Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui East, so the airline decided to produce a replica of the second member of its fleet for its 60th anniversary celebration this year. An old DC3 was purchased in the Philippines and teams from Cathay Pacific’s Engineering Department and maintenance provider HAECO worked to lovingly restore it in Cathay Pacific colours.

The “New Niki” was rolled out for the first time at the event to mark the arrival of Cathay Pacific’s 100th aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport on 30 August. It will go on permanent display outside the airline’s HQ, though it can be moved for use at special events.

Cathay Pacific Engineering Director Derek Cridland said: “We wanted to do something special to mark our 60th anniversary, and the replica of Niki certainly helps to bring the past alive. Having the aircraft standing outside our headquarters will remind people about the airline’s modest beginnings and how it has grown over 60 years to became a highly regarded international carrier. My sincere thanks go to the staff who worked hard to make this project happen.”