Cathay Pacific rebrands Dragonair as Cathay Dragon

The Cathay Pacific Group has announced plans to rebrand regional carrier Dragonair as Cathay Dragon, aimed at helping the group capture more traffic growth from the mainland China market. The group has termed it “a new era of growth and opportunity for its two airlines”.

Cathay Pacific’s wholly owned sister airline Dragonair is to be rebranded as Cathay Dragon, it was announced.

By more closely aligning the two brands, this rebranding will capitalise on Cathay Pacific’s high international brand recognition and leverage on Cathay Dragon’s unique connectivity into Mainland China – one of the world’s fastest-growing business and leisure travel markets. The airlines’ customers will benefit from greater convenience and a more seamless travel experience.

Since Dragonair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific in 2006, it has added 23 new destinations and the number of passengers travelling across both carriers has grown five times to more than 7 million in 2015. The combined annual passenger number of the two airlines grew from 22 million to more than 34 million last year.

This spectacular growth has been made possible by the Cathay Pacific Group’s efforts to channel international passengers to and from Mainland China, regional and long-haul markets through Hong Kong International Airport.

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 rebranding will see a new livery created for Cathay Dragon that features a Cathay-style brushwing logo. This livery will appear for the first time on one of Cathay Dragon’s Airbus A330-300 aircraft in April and will be progressively introduced to the rest of the airline’s fleet.

Cathay Dragon’s Chief Executive Officer Algernon Yau said: “We can assure our customers that Cathay Dragon will continue to provide the same high level of products and services that made us a four-time winner of the World’s Best Regional Airline award. We will have the same dedicated team continuing to offer their friendly and caring service style. We will also continue to build on our experience and understanding of what our passengers like and treasure, such as speciality Chinese and Asian dishes as well as popular local Hong Kong snacks.”

The Cathay Pacific Group will launch a major international advertising and marketing campaign later this year to promote recognition of Cathay Dragon and the benefits this rebranding will bring to passengers.

Change is in the air

“Dragonair’s heritage and award-winning reputation particularly in the rapidly growing China market, is important to us. Therefore, a link to the old name is essential, along with preserving the distinct travel experience that Dragonair is renowned for” the company announced. The new Cathay Dragon name embodies a decade of work that has made journeys smoother for the many passengers who connect between Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.

New Logo and Livery

“To create a seamless brand experience for passengers, it is important to establish a clear link between our two airlines. By using the Cathay name and iconic brushwing logo, we can show their relationship and premium service in a clear and simple way.

The livery was redesigned to align Cathay Dragon more closely with Cathay Pacific. Visual signals, such as the use of the brushwing on the tails of both fleets, express the partnership and shared brand values between the two airlines. It celebrates our heritage and at the same time, looks towards the future with a timeless, yet contemporary, elegance.

The Chinese dragon emblem is well-known throughout the region and we wanted to retain this icon in the redesign. We have subtly updated the image, adding a slight colour gradient to the dragon’s back and simplifying some of the details. It will feature on the nose of every aircraft.

Contemporary Chinese: The Design Philosophy

“We are deeply proud of our heritage in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and keeping this spirit is important. This will be reflected in Cathay Dragon’s approach to contemporary Chinese elements in its design philosophy” according to the media release by Cathay Pacific. 

Cathay Dragon will continue to draw inspiration from the designs and tastes that represent modern Chinese creativity. The process encompasses both physical design as well as on-going refinement of service offerings as a whole.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International