09 Oct 2006
Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Philip Chen on Friday paid tribute to the Philippines for the role the country has played in the airline's development over the past 60 years, confirming its commitment to this important market during a courtesy call on Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The trip to Malacanang Palace came the day after Cathay Pacific celebrated 60 years of operations in the Philippines with a gala party in Manila.
In a congratulatory message to the airline, President Arroyo thanked Cathay Pacific for its confidence in the Philippines and for continuing to explore and expand tourism and trade opportunities between the Philippines, Hong Kong and most parts of the world. "When you invest your company's resources and people in this country, you also invest in our people, our resources and our culture. For this, we are truly grateful," the President said.
On Thursday night, the airline staged a 60th anniversary celebration event at the Hotel Philippine Plaza, attended by 300 people including Philippine Government dignitaries, Manila-based diplomats, transport and trade officials, business partners and loyal customers. In his welcome speech, Mr Chen told the gathering that Cathay Pacific is proud to have been serving the Philippines with unwavering commitment since the airline's inception in 1946 and thanked the country's people for their ongoing support.
He noted that the Philippines holds a special place in the airline's heart because it is believed the name "Cathay Pacific Airways" was coined in the Tropicana Bar of the Manila Hotel by the airline's co-founder Roy Farrell and some foreign correspondents.
"Manila was a port of call on Cathay Pacific's maiden flight in September 1946 and has remained an important destination ever since. Today we are very proud to be the biggest foreign carrier serving the Philippines with 37 flights a week between Manila and Hong Kong, and a daily service to Cebu," Mr Chen said.
One of the big attractions at Thursday night's gala party was a performance of the airline's popular "Walking on Air" show in which cabin crew give a stylish fashion parade of its uniforms from the past 60 years. On Friday the show was taken to the Manila public for the first time with a special performance at the city's Greenbelt Park 3 shopping and entertainment complex.
During his Manila trip, Mr Chen also met with business leaders and local journalists to brief them on recent developments at Cathay Pacific, including the recent integration with Dragonair. He highlighted the airline's ongoing commitment to developing Hong Kong as a leading international passenger and freight hub.