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Chairman's Message

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Cathay Pacific's vision is simple - to be the world's best airline. To be the best, we endeavour to operate in a sustainable manner, embedding sustainable development principles and practices into all aspects of our business.

We began our sustainable development journey in the 1990s by starting to manage social and environmental issues - which, at that time, were seperate from the commercial side of our operations. It soon became clear we could not address these issues as a matter of detached philanthropy: indeed, integrating them into our overall commercial strategy was vital to the long-term viability of our business.

In 2010, we launched a Sustainable Development Strategy, formally enshrining our long-held belief that if we are to continue to generate healthy returns for our shareholders, then we must find new ways to reduce our environmental footprint and to care for our staff, customers and the wider community.

    We believe 2010 saw a number of achievements and initiatives that moved us closer to a sustainable future. These include:
  • A record attributable profit of HK$14 billion
  • An order for 32 new Airbus A350-900s and six Boeing 777-300ERs, two highly fuel-efficient aircraft types
  • The introduction of four new routes and a number of additional frequencies across the Cathay Pacific and Dragonair networks
  • Effective management of safety issues
  • Gradual progress on managing labour relations with the recognition that this remains a key challenge
  • Achieving fuel efficiency improvement of 8.7% per available tonne kilometre (ATK) and 23.4% per revenue tonne kilometre (RTK) respectively since 1998

One of the most challenging sustainability issues we face today is mitigating the impact of climate change. We recognise that carbon emissions growth cannot be left unchecked. Thus, a significant part of our strategy is focused on reducing fuel consumption and emissions through modern technology, enhanced operational procedures, appropriate Chairman's Message economic measures and improved infrastructure. We have been doing most of these things for the past three decades, but now the challenge is to go further and faster than before.

We work in an operating environment where our stakeholders expect more and more from us in different ways. We have always been committed to engaging with our stakeholders and responding to their opinions and needs has been an integral part of how we run our business. However, we are increasingly seeing inappropriate and onerous regulations aimed at the aviation industry. Aviation is a very significant contributor to the world economy - as the disruptions to air travel caused by last year's eruption of the Icelandic volcano clearly demonstrated. While we fully recognise that we must continue to seek solutions to mitigate our environmental impact, we must also ensure these solutions are effective and appropriate to the aviation industry. We will continue to work with our industry partners in this respect.

The Asia Pacific region - and especially Greater China - will witness strong growth in aviation over the next 15 to 20 years. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges that the decades ahead will bring to the business and Hong Kong. I am confident that together with its subsidiaries, Cathay Pacific will work towards achieving its goals in a sustainable way. Sustainability not only aligns with our core values, it will also help Cathay Pacific become a more competitive, efficient and innovative airline.

Christopher Pratt