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Cathay Dragon

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Not to be confused with Loong Air.
Cathay Dragon 國泰港龍
Cathay Dragon.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
KA HDA DRAGON
Founded 24 May 1985
Commenced operations July 1985
Hubs Hong Kong International Airport
Frequent-flyer program
  • Asia Miles
  • The Marco Polo Club
Airport lounge
  • G16 Lounge
  • The Wing
  • The Pier
  • The Cabin
  • The Bridge
  • The Arrival
Alliance Oneworld (affiliate)
Fleet size 42
Destinations 44
Parent company Cathay Pacific (100%)
Headquarters Hong Kong International Airport
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
Key people
  • Kuang-Piu Chao (Honorary chairman)
  • Ivan Chu (Chairman)
  • Algernon Yau (CEO)
Employees 3,375 (March 2015)
Website dragonair.com
Cathay Dragon
Traditional Chinese 國泰港龍航空
Simplified Chinese 国泰港龙航空
Dragonair's logo

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd (Chinese: 港龍航空公司), operating brand as Cathay Dragon (Chinese: 國泰港龍航空) and previously as Dragonair, is a Hong Kong-based international regional airline,[1] with its corporate headquarters, Cathay Dragon House, and main hub at Hong Kong International Airport.[2][3] As of 30 October 2013, the airline operates a scheduled passenger network to 44 destinations in 13 countries and territories across Asia. Additionally, the airline has 3 codeshares on routes which are served by partner airlines. It has an all Airbus fleet of 41 aircraft, consisting of A320s, A321s, A330s and B747 (Cargo). Cathay Dragon is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong's flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, and is an affiliate member of the Oneworld airline alliance. The airline was founded on May 24, 1985 by Chao Kuang Piu, the airline's present honorary chairman. Its maiden flight departed Hong Kong for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia after being granted an air operator's certificate (AOC) by the Hong Kong Government in July 1985. In 2010, Dragonair, together with its parent, Cathay Pacific, operated over 138,000 flights, carried nearly 27 million passengers and over 1.80 billion kg of cargo and mail.[4]

History[edit]

Dragonair Airbus A330-300
An Airbus A320-200 painted in Dragonair's livery taxiing on the taxiway
Dragonair Airbus A320-200

Early beginning[edit]

Dragonair House
Dragonair House, the head office at Hong Kong International Airport

The airline was established in Hong Kong on May 24, 1985 on the initiative of Kuang-Piu Chao, the airline's present honorary chairman, as a subsidiary of Hong Kong Macau International Investment Co. It started operations in July 1985 with a Boeing 737-200 service from Kai Tak International Airport to Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Malaysia, after receiving an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Hong Kong Government. The airline began services to Phuket, Thailand, as well as six secondary cities in mainland China on a regular charter basis in 1986. In 1987, the airline became the first Hong Kong-based airline to join as an active member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Dragonair was the first local competitor for Hong Kong's largest airline, Cathay Pacific, in forty years; and since the airline's inception, Cathay Pacific fought vigorously to block the airline's flight-slot applications. In January 1987, the airline announced its expansion by the order of two long-range McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft. However, after a heated hearing before Hong Kong's Air Transport Licensing Authority, the Hong Kong Government adopted a one route-one airline policy, which lasted until 2001. The airline was not able to gain the scheduled routes it needed to compete effectively. The airline was disadvantaged in that Hong Kong's financial secretary back then, Sir John Bremridge, was a former Cathay Pacific chairman.[5][6][7]

Stephen Miller, Dragonair's first CEO, said:

Our arrival on the scene was not hailed very enthusiastically by the then Hong Kong government...we got a lot of opposition from Cathay (Pacific).[7]

It was later discovered that Cathay Pacific was concentrating on a boom in travel elsewhere in the 1980s, and left the undeveloped mainland China market to Dragonair. Forced into accepting less-desirable routes, the young airline focused on the mainland.[7]

1990s[edit]

In January 1990, Cathay Pacific, Swire Group and CITIC Pacific acquired an 89 percent stake in the airline, with CITIC Pacific holding 38 percent; while the family of the airline's chairman Kuang-Piu Chao reduced their holding from 22 percent to 6 percent, with the remainder held by minor shareholders. The change of ownership saw Cathay Pacific transferring its Beijing and Shanghai routes to Dragonair, along with a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar on a lease basis. The first Airbus A320 joined the airline's fleet in March 1993 and by December, there was a total of six A320 aircraft. This was followed by the introduction of the Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft into the Dragonair's fleet in July 1995.[5][8][9][10]

A further redistribution of shares took place in April 1996, when China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) purchased 35.86 percent of Dragonair and became the largest shareholder, with Cathay Pacific and Swire retaining 25.50 percent, CITIC Pacific retaining 28.50 percent and the Chao family retaining 5.02 percent. CNAC's holding was further increased to 43 percent when it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 17 December 1997. On 5 July 1998, Dragonair Flight 841 from Chongqing was the last scheduled arrival at Kai Tak Airport, landed runway 13 at 15:38 GMT (23:38 Hong Kong time).[5][10][11][12]

Operational expansion[edit]

Dragonair Boeing 747-400BCF freighter
Dragonair Boeing 747-400BCF Freighter

In 2000, the airline commenced an all-cargo service to Shanghai, Europe and the Middle East using a leased Boeing 747-200 freighter and a service to Osaka was added in May 2001. The airline purchased two Boeing 747-300 freighters in 2001 and extended freight operations to Xiamen and Taipei in 2002. The airline's net profits rose 60 percent to HK$540 million in 2002, with cargo operations accounting for 30 percent of revenues; and freight volume increasing nearly 50 percent to 20,095 tonnes.[5][13]

All regular flights were converted to scheduled services in March 2000,[clarification needed] with passenger service to Taipei, Bangkok and Tokyo commenced in July 2002, November 2003 and April 2004, respectively. Dragonair Cargo continued to see steady growth and the airline began a Hong Kong–Shanghai freight route on behalf of DHL in June 2003 and leased an Airbus A300 freighter to start a cargo service to Nanjing in June 2004. A second daily European loop to Frankfurt and London, in addition to Manchester and Amsterdam, followed and by mid-2004 the airline had five Boeing 747 freighters and 26 Airbus passenger aircraft. In a bitter Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) hearings in 2004, Cathay Pacific applied to fly to three mainland cities to which Dragonair filed an objection, saying the move would have an effect on its very survival.[5][13][14]

A new passenger service to Sydney was scheduled to open in the second half of 2005, along with Manila and Seoul as the other anticipated destinations. The airline also planned services to the United States in 2005, at first with cargo flights. It was the airline's intention to more than double its freighter fleet to nine Boeing 747s by 2008.[5]

Cathay Pacific takeover[edit]

By 2005, Cathay Pacific owned 18 percent of the airline, with its parent, Swire Pacific owned 7.71 percent; CNAC owned 43 percent and CITIC Pacific owned 28.5 percent. A Hong Kong newspaper[which?] reported that Swire Pacific was in advanced negotiations that would see Cathay Pacific taking over Dragonair. This was dismissed outright by Tony Tyler, then chief operating officer of Cathay Pacific who said "We have no plans to change that structure right now... we are happy with the structure of the shareholding in Dragonair at the moment. " Peter Hilton, transport analyst at CSFB, said Tyler's remarks were a "cut and dried" dismissal of the takeover talk.[15]

On 28 September 2006, Dragonair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific after completion of a major shareholding realignment involving Cathay Pacific, Air China, CNAC, CITIC Pacific and Swire Pacific. Cathay Pacific claimed that Dragonair will continue to operate as a separate airline within the Cathay Pacific group, maintaining its own Air Operator's Certificate and with the brand unchanged, with 2,976 employees worldwide. However, the airline will be downsized with five percent of the airline staff retrenched or transferred into Cathay Pacific. No Cathay Pacific staff were to be affected by this announcement.[16][17][18][19]

By 2009, services to Bangkok and Tokyo; and the expansion plans to introduce services to Sydney, Seoul and the United States have been cancelled and terminated. In addition, the planned nine-aircraft freight operation has also been eliminated, with three Boeing 747-400BCF freighters transferred to its parent fleet while the two remaining parked at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.[20][21][22][23]

Service integration[edit]

Dragonair's own loyalty program, The Elite, that was launched on 12 February 2001, was merged into Cathay Pacific's The Marco Polo Club from 1 January 2007. Existing Elite members were offered similar membership by The Marco Polo Club.[13][20][24] On 1 August 2007, the airline opened a joint regional office with Cathay Pacific in Beijing, that featured a dedicated area for the airline and its parent, and joined the Oneworld alliance as an affiliated member on 1 November, which its parent is a founding member.[25][26] In addition, they opened the first airline-branded arrival lounge, The Arrival, at Hong Kong International Airport on 1 October 2008.[27] The airline's ground handling services subsidiary, Hong Kong International Airport Services Ltd (HIAS), was merged with Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd (HAS) on 1 November 2008 and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific on 1 December 2008.

In January 2016, Cathay Pacific announced it was rebranding Dragonair as Cathay Dragon.[28] According to CAPA, Cathay Dragon brand will activate on November 21.[29]

Destinations[edit]

The airline currently operates its own aircraft to 47 destinations including 22 destinations in mainland China from its home base Hong Kong.[30]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Cathay Dragon has codeshare agreements with the following partner airlines:[31][32][33]

Fleet[edit]

Livery[edit]

Dragonair Airbus A330-300 in special 20th Anniversary livery at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport
Airbus A330-300 (B-HWG) in special 20th Anniversary livery at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport
Airbus A330-300 (B-HYQ), the first aircraft wearing the new livery released in 2016

The airline's original livery consists of a thick red-colored horizontal strip along a white-colored fuselage with a red-colored vertical stabiliser. The airline's traditional Chinese and English name and its logo are in gold color and are painted on the forward fuselage above the red horizontal strip and on the vertical stabiliser, respectively.[35]

The previous livery is in white color with a red dragon on the cowling and on the vertical stabiliser; and the airline's name written in Chinese red lettering and in English black lettering above and below the front passenger windows, respectively. In addition, there is a 30 cm Oneworld logo next to the first left door and a Swire Group logo on the aft of the aircraft.[36][37]

On 5 May 2005, Dragonair celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a new Airbus A330-300 (B-HWG) painted in a special livery. The work of art took 14 months to realise, from design tender to completed image. The special livery featured a waterside view with a junk and fishes leaping out of the water at the front of the aircraft; a red dragon spread across the fuselage in the daylight; and children playing with traditional Chinese lanterns by the waterside of an ancient village on the left side of the aircraft, representing the past. It also featured a waterside view with a Star Ferry at front of the aircraft; and a red dragon spread across the fuselage in the Hong Kong night sky, representing the present. Stanley Hui, Dragonair's CEO at the time, described the special livery "embodies the spirit of the Chinese dragons of old – a spirit that aspires to excellence".[38][39] The aircraft was removed from service in February 2013, at the expiration of its lease.

In 2016, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair's Parent Company, announced that they would be re-branding Dragonair to Cathay Dragon. For this change, a new livery has been adopted. The new livery is similar to Cathay Pacific's new livery in the tail logo and font. The major difference is instead of the Cathay Pacific green theme, it has a light maroon theme. The titles say Cathay Dragon along with Chinese lettering reading the name. Dragonair's Dragon logo has been retained and appears next to the cockpit windows. Airbus A330-300, B-HYQ, was the first aircraft to wear the new livery.

Passenger[edit]

Cathay Dragon operates an all Airbus fleet in a mix of single-aisle and wide-body aircraft. The fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of August 2016):[40]

Dragonair passenger fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F J Y Total
Airbus A320-200 15 0 8 150 158
168 168
8 156 164
Airbus A321-200 8 0 24 148 172
Airbus A330-300 19 7[41] 8 42 230 280
42 265 307
Total 42 7

Previously operated[edit]

Loyalty programs[edit]

Part of this section is transcluded from Cathay Pacific. (edit | history)

Cathay Dragon shares two loyalty programs with its parent company, Cathay Pacific: The Marco Polo Club (The Club), a loyalty program, and Asia Miles, a travel reward program.[42][43] Members of The Club are automatically enrolled as Asia Miles members.[44]

Services[edit]

Food and beverages served on flights from Hong Kong are provided by LSG Lufthansa Service Hong Kong Ltd, a Dragonair associate.[45] A variety of regional dishes, such as dim sum, Fokkien fried rice, barbecue pork with fried rice and chicken with Thai sweet chilli, is served on flights into mainland China. However, only beverages and cakes will be served in Economy Class for flights between Hong Kong and Changsha, Clark, Guangzhou, Haikou and Sanya.[46]

The airline's in-flight entertainment system, offers video and audio channels in all cabin classes on selected Airbus A330-300 and Airbus A321-200 via personal televisions (PTVs). In addition, the airline provides a range different newspapers and magazines from around the world, including the airline's in-flight magazine Silkroad.[47]

New cabin interior[edit]

Beginning in March 2013, the majority of the airline's fleet will be retrofitted with new Business and Economy Class seats.[48] The seats are nearly identical to the new Regional Business Class and new Long-haul Economy Class products offered by parent company Cathay Pacific.[48][49] Seats in both classes will be fitted with StudioKA (a rebranded version of the StudioCX inflight entertainment system on board Cathay Pacific aircraft), which features a 12.1-inch (Business Class) or 9-inch (Economy Class) touchscreen display, Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD), support for iOS devices, and a USB port for connectivity to other devices. In-seat power outlets will be available to all passengers. The new Business Class will feature a 21-inch wide recliner seat with 45 inches (narrowbody aircraft) or 47 inches (widebody aircraft) of pitch, while the new Economy Class will be 18.1 inches wide with 30 inches (narrowbody aircraft) or 32 inches (widebody aircraft) of pitch. The retrofitting process is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.[48]

Awards[edit]

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]

Since its founding in 1985, the airline has been investing into airline-related servicing companies, including inflight catering, ground handling and service equipment companies.

The following are Cathay Dragon's major subsidiaries and associates: (as of 26 July 2009)[54]

  • LSG Lufthansa Service Hong Kong Ltd – 31.94% owned
  • Dah-Chong Hong-Dragonair Airport GSE Service Ltd (DAS) – 30%
  • HAS GSE Solutions Ltd – 30%

Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd[edit]

Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd (HAS), a former wholly owned subsidiary, provides ground handling services to the airline at Hong Kong International Airport. Their services include airside/landside operations, airport lounge, baggage services, cargo services, ramp services, ticketing & Information, station control and flight operations.[55] On 1 November 2008, HIAS was integrated into Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd (HAS), a joint venture between Dragonair and Cathay Pacific, to become one of the Asia's largest airport services providers. On 1 December 2008, HAS became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.[56]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Skytrax. A-Z of 2015 World Airline Awards winners (Report). Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hong Kong." Dragonair. Retrieved on 8 September 2010. "Head Office: Dragonair House, 11 Tung Fai Road, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau, Hong Kong. "
  3. ^ "香港." Dragonair. Retrieved on 12 February 2011. "總辦事處: 香港大嶼山香港國際機場東輝路11號 港龍大厦."
  4. ^ "Cathay Pacific releases combined traffic figures for December 2009". Cathaypacific.com. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd.". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  6. ^ Birkett, Chris (11 January 1986). "The Year of the Dragon" (PDF). Flight International. Reed Business Information. p. 18. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c Hilken, Daniel (8 June 2006). "The Dragon that was too hot to handle". Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Year 1990 – 1994". Dragonair. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  9. ^ Hopkins, Harry (2–8 May 1990). "Cathay Prepares for 1997" (PDF). Flight International. Reed Business Information. p. 26. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Year 1995 – 1999". Dragonair. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. Reed Business Information. 3 April 2007. p. 74. 
  12. ^ Mola, Roger A. (1 September 2003). "Last Stand at Kai Tak". Air & Space Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c "Year 2000 – 2004". Dragonair. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Li, Wen Fang (24 January 2003). "Cathay, Dragonair plead their case on mainland routes". China Daily. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "Cathay Happy With Dragonair Share Structure". Airwise. Ascent Pacific. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  16. ^ "Cathay finally seals Dragonair takeover". The Standard. 9 June 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "Joint Announcement" (PDF) (Press release). Cathay Pacific. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "Analyst Presentation" (PDF) (Press release). Cathay Pacific. 9 June 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Dragonair to be downsized". Shanghai Daily. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Cathay Pacific. 11 April 2007. p. 13. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Cathay Pacific. 31 March 2008. p. 7. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Cathay Pacific. 6 April 2009. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "Dragonair". CH-Aviation. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "The Elite, Asia's Newest Prestige Club, Opens for Enrolment (Hong Kong)" (Press release). Dragonair. 12 February 2001. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "Dragonair's new Beijing office". Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "China's best airline Dragonair now part of Oneworld alliance" (Press release). Oneworld. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 
  27. ^ "Year 2008". Dragonair. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  28. ^ Template:Cite url=http://www.dragonair.com/ka/en HK/cathaydragon/introduction.html
  29. ^ Template:Cite url=http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/cathay-pacific-high-cost-and-pilot-constrained-promotes-regional-unit-dragonair-to-reduce-costs-298296
  30. ^ Nadya Natahadibrata (14 March 2014). "Dragonair may bring more Chinese to RI". 
  31. ^ "Fast Facts – The Network". Dragonair. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  32. ^ "Schedules". Dragonair. 
  33. ^ "Profile on Dragonair". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-10-29. Retrieved 2016-10-29. 
  34. ^ "Dragonair adds Jinjiang to China network through new code-share with Shenzhen Airlines". 
  35. ^ "Dragonair Boeing 737-200 (VR-HYL)" (JPG). Airliners.net. 21 December 1990. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  36. ^ "Airbus Industrie 330-300". Dragonair. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  37. ^ "Dragonair Becomes a Member of the Oneworld Alliance" (Press release). Dragonair. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  38. ^ "Dragonair's '20th Anniversary Aircraft' arrives in Hong Kong" (Press release). Dragonair. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  39. ^ "Fact Sheet – The Livery Design on Dragonair's 20th Anniversary Aircraft". Dragonair. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  40. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2016): 15. 
  41. ^ Press release mentions A330 transfer from Cathay Pacific fleet
  42. ^ "The Marco Polo Club". Dragonair. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  43. ^ "Asia Miles". Dragonair. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  44. ^ "The Marco Polo Club". Cathay Pacific. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  45. ^ "Hong Kong (HKG)". LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  46. ^ "Inflight Dining". Dragonair. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  47. ^ "Reading Materials". Dragonair. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  48. ^ a b c "Dragonair unveils comprehensive enhancements to cope with future expansion and development". Dragonair. 
  49. ^ "Dragonair unveils new inflight product, largest product enhancement since 2005". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 
  50. ^ "Recognition". Dragonair. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  51. ^ "Dragonair is named World's Best Regional Airline at 2010 World Airline Awards". Skytrax. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  52. ^ "Dragonair Named Best Regional Airline at TTG Travel Awards 2010". Dragonair. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  53. ^ "Dragonair Named 'Asian Excellence Brand'". Dragonair. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  54. ^ "Fast Facts – Major Subsidiaries and Associates". Dragonair. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  55. ^ "Services". Hong Kong Airport Services Limited. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  56. ^ "Corporate Background". Hong Kong Airport Services Limited. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 

External links[edit]