American Roy C Farrell and Australian Sydney H de Kantzow founded Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong on 24 September, 1946. Initially based in Shanghai, the two men eventually moved to Hong Kong and founded Cathay Pacific Airways. Legend has it that Farrell and a group of foreign correspondents thought up the airline's unique name in the bar at the Manila Hotel.
The new company began to operate passenger flights to Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai. Expansion was fast and, in 1948, one of Hong Kong's leading trading companies, Butterfield & Swire (today known as the Swire Group) took a 45% share in the company. Under the leadership of John Kidston Swire, Butterfield & Swire became wholly responsible for the management of the airline.