Cathay Dragon is the new name for Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) subsidiary Dragonair. Its new branding will integrate many design elements introduced by CX back in October 2014 (News).
Cathay Dragon is born to strengthen brand identity and provide a more cohesive integration for passengers when connecting between the two airlines in Asia.
Cathay Pacific’s Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved together. Cathay Dragon is a brand that will be recognisably part of the Cathay Pacific Group for our customers from different parts of the world. The rebranding will enable us to capture the fast-growing passenger flows across the two carriers by creating a more seamless travel experience.
“We are building on what is a true Hong Kong success story that has made our city a leading international aviation hub and gateway to and from Mainland China markets. This rebranding will sharpen our competitive edge by offering an attractive Cathay-led brand package that carries the assurance of a consistently high-quality customer experience.”
The integration will end Dragonair’s name that lasted more than 30 years. The airline was originally founded by textile magnate Chao Kuang Piu in 1985 as an alternative serving Asian destinations. It was acquired by CX in 2006 in a major shareholding realignment involving Cathay’s parent Swire Pacific and the Air China Group.
After the realignment, Dragonair continued to operate as a separate airline with its own identity featuring a red dragon.It mainly flies to 47 destinations. Over 50% of them are to mainland China. The rest are to other Asian destinations in Japan, Korea, and Thailand (route network shown below). There are some routes (e.g. Hong Kong (HKG) to Beijing (PEK) that it competes directly with CX. With a high route penetration into the Chinese market, about 60% of its passengers have passports from the mainland or Hong Kong.
Fleet and Class of Service
Cathay Dragon is an all Airbus fleet featuring a mix narrowbodies A320s and A321s and widebodies A330s. The narrowbodies A320/A321 have a mix of all economy and economy/business configurations. While passengers in the economy cabin enjoys a standard 29/30″ pitch, business class passengers are offered with a better than average 42″ pitch. Both cabins have been receiving updated seats with streaming entertainment abilities through its dedicated application called KA® Studio.
Widebody A330s are also going through their own retrofitting with new First, Business and Economy seats. First class features a design similar to CX’s own Business class.
The new branding will feature a name change in both English and Chinese. The logo will use the same brush stroke design introduced earlier by its parent but in red.
Aircraft livery will follow suit and have a mostly white fuselage and red tail featuring the logo.
The first aircraft with the new branding will be available on board an A330 in April 2016. Look for additional interior changes inside the aircrafts to highlight the new branding.
The branding exercise is important as many passengers outside of China/Hong Kong are aware of Dragonair. As such, they don’t know the airline already shares reservation and frequent flyer programs.
Look for Cathay Pacific to move the branding change quickly. This will enable the airline to gain efficiency from the integration . Beyond the livery, lounges, on board experience and uniforms will also be modified with the new branding.