Cathay Pacific rebrands Dragonair as 'Cathay Dragon'

By David Flynn , January 27 2016
Cathay Pacific rebrands Dragonair as 'Cathay Dragon'

Cathay Pacific will rebrand its regional offshoot Dragonair as ‘Cathay Dragon’ as part of a continued brand overhaul for the Hong Kong-based airline.

The move, announced today to staff at the airline's headquarters, will underscore Dragonair's links to its highly-regarded parent.

It includes a new red-tailed livery (above) based on the streamlined look of Cathay Pacific, which will adorn Cathay's first Airbus A350 (below) when it takes to the skies by mid-year.

Read: Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 delivery pushed back to Q2

Read: Inside Cathay Pacific's all-new Airbus A350

The merged brand has been on the cards since at least 2013, when the airline commissioned this concept artwork featuring the 'Cathay Dragon' brand.

'Cathay Dragon' concept artwork prepared for Cathay Pacific in 2013
'Cathay Dragon' concept artwork prepared for Cathay Pacific in 2013
'Cathay Dragon' concept artwork prepared for Cathay Pacific in 2013
'Cathay Dragon' concept artwork prepared for Cathay Pacific in 2013

Dragonair flies mainly into China and Asia, with seating based on Cathay Pacific's existing products for a more seamless travel experience when hopping between CX and KA flights.

For example, Dragonair's first class seats are adapted from Cathay's international business class...

... while both airlines share the same regional business class seat.

Dragonair has also adopted the same economy seats as seen on Cathay's long-haul international flights.

That's not to mention Dragonair's on-demand inflight entertainment system named StudioKA – which is modelled on Cathay Pacific's StudioCX system and includes iDevice connectivity, USB ports and AC power sockets in every seat from tip to tail.

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2015

Total posts 69

im everyone and i didnt know. Great article, i often fly dragon air and wondered why they kept such different brands with similar standards. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1148

Wow, someone went a little crazy with the Photoshop in those concept pictures.  The lady in the first picture looks like she might morph into a Cathay Dragon any moment and eat you whole.

Not a fan of the new name.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2014

Total posts 9

Dragon Pacific would sound better IMHO..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 14

Agree @etho, but they clearly want the name Cathay in there. Cathay is the old word for China anyway, so got to be a better name combo than Cathay Dragon. They are doing this to make swapping of aircraft between the two brands more seamless.

Anything is better than JetStar as parent and subsidiary goes.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 81

Yeah, it does, but it just wont work. We refer to the airline as Cathay, not Pacific, and as such Cathay has a much stronger brand. And second, the original Cathay was named Cathay Pacific because its founders wanted the airline to fly across the Pacific someday, a goal it eventually accomplished. With dragonair under cathay, thats unlikeky to ever happen.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 14

Name wise they just don't combine - Cathay Dragon sounds terrible. Cathay Regional, Cathay Link or Cathay Shuttle would be a better choice? I'm guessing it's probably wanting to retain the Dragon name as it resonates in China and possibly also something to do with AOC issues - keeping CX and KA separate.

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Don't mind the new name at all.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 493

"The merged brand has been on the cards since at least 2013"

Whilst Swire/Cathay own DragonAir (now Cathay Dragon), I'm wondering if the word 'merged' is correct here David?

As I understand this, the 'rebranding' is the result of two seperate companies aligning their marketing strategy under the Cathay brand (as opposed to the DragonAir brand). The joint livery (green tail / red tail) is the most visual linkage - with red being chosen for its mainland China association and where Dragon has more exposure  and recognition than Cathay's current 4 daily flights to PEK/PVG. However, I do not understand this to be a merger.

DragonAir / Cathay Dragon will continue to operate as a seperate entity with its own AOC, and Cathay Pacific will continue its own operation under its  own AOC.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1245

For all intensive purposes Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon are the same company. Cathay Dragon is not going to do anything which is not in the interests of Cathay Pacific. 

05 Sep 2014

Total posts 14

For all intents and purposes*

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1245

Lol, that's what I meant.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 493

Would you call British Airways, Iberia and Vueling 'all the same company' because they are owned by IAG ? Don't think I would.

Does the tailplane remind anyone of a combination of the Qantas and last incarnation of Australian Airlines, mixed together?

DK
DK

30 May 2011

Total posts 38

kinda does. I'm a bit sad to see the Dragonair livery gone, suppose the legacy will live on in the form of the Pokemon which can confused google search results with the airline's previous name. 

At least the dragon didn't completely get chopped off from the new livery...

DK
DK

30 May 2011

Total posts 38

also to add, this idea kinda reminds me of what Malaysia Airlines wanted to do with their livery: split the blue to international (which is currently on the A380 livery) and red to domestic... which never happened. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

DK
DK

30 May 2011

Total posts 38

Crouching Cathay, Hidden Dragon

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jan 2016

Total posts 3

So maybe SQ should rebrand MI too

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jan 2016

Total posts 3

SQ has four totally differently named airlines

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 68

It's official. New name is horrendous. As Michael said, they don't combine well. Why not just rebrand to Cathay Pacific?

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

But why it should <<just rebrand to Cathay Pacific>>?

Anyway, unlike in the Australian mkt where brand awareness for CX is much higher than KA, brand awareness within mainland China mkt for KA(i.e. Dragonair and its Chinese langauge equivalent) is much much higher than CX.  In fact, if U look @ the China route/frequency network of KA vs CX, the former out-number the latter by about 30:1.....the Dragonair brand simply has been enjoying much higher visibility than the Cathay brand across China for decades.

Naturally, branding strategy of KA will be catered much more towards mainland China mkt than any other mkt.....particularly when China outbound demand(i.e. PRC nationals going overseas) is much more important to CX Group these days than China inbound demand(i.e. foreigners going into China) especially in the hi-yield premium cabin /corp segment.

01 Jan 1970

Total posts 0

While I agree mostly with the above comment, I doubt in the context of the Mainland China market, changing the ENGLISH name of the airline would make any difference at all.  The "new" Chinese name for Dragonair retains the two characters that were the previous Chinese name for Dragonair, but puts them after the two Chinese characters representing Cathay Pacific (????).

)

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 145

Although the new name sounds a bit....hmmm.....let's say 'Striking' , I think given 'Dragonair' was a well known brand in the Greater China area, I reckon the thoughts behind this rebranding is probably trying to keep some link and 'familiarity' with the long established name so customers will recognise it straight away. If they went for a 'complete' rebranding...let's say calling it 'Cathay Link' or 'Cathay Express' for example, then a lot more marketing (thus money) needs to be put in market to let everyone know that it is indeed the old Dragonair.

Also they probably thought about the new name in Chinese Mandarin and how it sounds, keeping in mind mainland China is the biggest market for KA. And what they simply did was adding 'Cathay' in front of 'Dragonair' in the new Chinese name, so no major change at all in that sense.

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

<<If they went for a 'complete' rebranding...let's say calling it 'Cathay Link' or 'Cathay Express' for example, then a lot more marketing needs to be put in market...>>

Absolutely.  The Dragonair brand is well entrenched within mainland China mkt whereas the Cathay brand still isn't.  Retiring 'Dragonair' completely will be akin to @ least partial destruction of brand value accumulated decades long by CX group in China.

<<...they probably thought about the new name in Chinese Mandarin...>>

Not <<probably>> but almost 99% certainty.  I would be extremely surprised if the new KA branding is not based primarily fm the Chinese language/cultural perspective.  In  other words, the English version is a 2ndary consideration in this KA rebranding exercise and therefore less important(e.g. to entertain non-Chinese speakers who may think Cathay Dragon sounds terrible in English).

<<...keeping in mind mainland China is the biggest market for KA..>>

Or more precisely, travellers originating from <<mainland China is the biggest market for KA>> these days.  Many folks here don't realize that probably because of an Australia-centric mentality and Australian Business Traveller is not exactly the most popular travel media for those who live in mainland China but do fly frequently.

10 Sep 2015

Total posts 5

too similar to turkish airlines!


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