Why do airlines name themselves for example "Cathay Pacific" or "Virgin Atlantic". Aren't they indirectly limiting themselves to always fly over "Pacific" or "Atlantic"? It would be weird if Virgin Atlantic flies over Pacific and vice versa.

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    $\begingroup$ It is better to do some home work before posting a question, you might get an idea, if you are still having a question then you can post it here also you need to check is there any question asked before too. Whoever Votes down it is option to write comment, but not necessarily :) you can check few of my deleted posts :) $\endgroup$
    – Lucky
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the only link it has to aviation is that it asks about names of airlines. On top of that the question is really trivial and - as other close-voters say - primarily opinion-based. $\endgroup$
    – user23573
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's a valid question, while been asked in a too simplistic way. What about EuroAtlantic Airways, or Air Atlanta that you may spot anywhere in the world ? Or what's the point behind Indonesia/Thai Air Asia ? Trivial answers would be Air Atlanta (or Air Memphis) started operations in Atlanta (Memphis) ? Is Avianca Honduras a Colombian airline ? etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ It's not a valid question here - it's about corporate branding. One might just as well ask why Royal Caribbean ships appear in Sydney harbour, or whether Eddie Stobart drives every one of his lorries. $\endgroup$
    – user11516
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ Air France flies all around the world, customers are not misled by the name. Corsair has been seen at TNCM, not only in the small island of Corse on the Mediterranean Sea. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 21:57

3 Answers 3


In a lot of cases it's because they started serving a specific region.

Lucky tells the story of Cathay Pacific. Virgin Atlantic was started specifically to fly from Britain across the Atlantic. Lots of US airlines started in a specific region, like Southwest. Westjet started serving the west of Canada.

It doesn't make sense to change a well-known name just because the reach of the airline is extended.

  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. But why start the airline in the first place with a restricted name. Don't the founders have confidence on their brand that it'd expand.. :) $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ Probably because it's embarrassing to call your airline "Worldwide Airlines" when it only flies from Houston to Dallas. Also you sometimes want to communicate that your airline focusses on one specific region, that will attract people who fly in that region. And not everyone plans for their company to take over the world. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 13:44

The naming of an airline completely left to the investor(founder) who is registering the airline name. Reason behind the naming for the one you are referring "Cathy Pacific" is Cathay, the ancient name given to China and Pacific because Roy Farrell (one of the founding member of airline) speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific. More on this can be found here.

There may be a reason behind the name or may not be. I feel that it is not necessary to have a particular reason behind the airline naming or even other naming convention.


The name of a business is the business's brand name so people can identify it easily. It is totally separate from what the business does, or in the case of airlines where it flies. Its just a name and it is up to the owner to decide what the business is called and when (if ever) to change it. The names of airlines often come from the place that the airline started operations but there is no rule saying this must be so.

There is no rule stating you have to call the airline by the places it actually flies over. Generally changing names of businesses can confuse customers, so it is not done very often. I would think also that airlines are proud of their history so that's another reason not to rename just because they created a new route.


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