Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited (Chinese: 港龍航空有限公司), branded as Cathay Dragon (Chinese: 國泰港龍航空) and previously known as Dragonair, is a Hong Kong-based International Regional Airline with its corporate headquarters, Cathay Dragon House, and Main Hub at Hong Kong International Airport. As of 30 October 2013, the airline operates a scheduled passenger network to 47 destinations in 14 countries and territories across Asia. Additionally, the airline has three codeshares on routes served by partner airlines, one of which is Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Dragon is a premium, full-serviced regional airline of the Cathay Pacific group are to The new, closer partnership with Cathay Pacific offers a better, smoother, and more integrated travel experience for our passengers. When you fly with Cathay Dragon from Mainland China or other regional Asian destinations, you can seamlessly connect in Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific’s extended global network. And as of today January 4, 2019, Cathay Dragon owns a fleet consisting of only Airbus Aircraft, where they operate both Single-aisle aircraft, the A320 and Wide-body jet’s, the A330. These aircraft are used to serve 48 destinations around Asia, where of 22 locations are in Mainland China. And additionally together with Cathay Pacific, they fly to outstanding 180 destinations around the world. With a shared commitment to service, design, reassurance, and wellness, both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon make the same promise to their passengers of enabling a Life Well Travelled.
The airline was established in Hong Kong on May 24, 1985 as Dragonair 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, for 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.
Expansion During Year 2000 - 2002
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 in 2002.
Expansion During Year 2005 - 2006
By 2005, Cathay Pacific owned 18 percent of the airline, with its parent, Swire Pacific owned 7.71 percent, China National Aviation Holding owned 43 percent and CITIC Pacific owned 28.5 percent.
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, China National Aviation Corporation Group, 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.
Expansion During Year 2009 - 2010
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 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. After achieving such numbers, 6 years later in January 2016, Cathay Pacific officially announced it was rebranding Dragonair as Cathay Dragon. The Cathay Dragon brand became active on 21 November 2016. The airline currently operates its own aircraft to 47 destinations including 22 destinations in mainland China from its home base Hong Kong.
It has an all Airbus fleet of 48 aircraft, consisting of A320s, A321s and A330s. 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. Out of the 48 Aircraft, 25 of them are A300-300’s.
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.
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. In 2016, Along with the re-branding of Dragonair to Cathay Dragon came the need of adopting a new livery to match the Cathay brand. 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. The new livery first appeared on an Airbus A330-300’s and are as of today in 2019 features across a wide amount of A330’s in their fleet.
To me Asia is a very dear continent, that I love to visit. Hong Kong plays a major role in the world politics and finances. And Cathay Pacific handles the majority of Hong Kong’s annual traffic. Transporting people of all class and purpose from and to their Hub, Hong Kong. As Cathay bought Dragonair and rebranded it as Cathay Dragon, they’ve expanded throughout East Asia, South East Asia and South Asia. With daily flight from their Hub to a wide variety of destinations in China and in Asia as whole. I personally would love to see Cathay Dragon, now as rebranded, fresh and new in Infinite Flight. The route options are endless, where you will be able to fly to numerous destinations with flights to multiple destination withing China but also branching out towards places such as Penang (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Fukuoka (Japan). Many of these destination are ones that Cathay Pacific doesn’t operate to, which they’ve left Cathay Dragon to cover up for, as they’re in the same group.
It’s a brand new fresh rebranding of Dragonair, today Cathay Dragon, which we need in Infinite Flight. Something that is Hong Kong based, shares a lot of similarities with our current well known Cathay Pacific yet offers something new. Not only will you be getting new routes along side old ones to enjoy, you will also get a sprawling new livery to show everyone and with the new livery comes the Pride of Hong Kong.
I’ve done mine, now please do yours. If you also want to see more wide body jet’s used by airlines from Hong Kong other than Cathay Pacific, then Vote for this feature request. Every vote counts and shows that you also want to see Cathay Dragon A330-300, hopefully in the near future in Infinite Flight 🙏
Source of Information
Wikipedia Page for Cathay Dragon
Wikipedia Page for Hong Kong Int’l Airport
Wikipedia Page for Cathay Pacific
Picture from JetPhotos
Photographer’s Page from JetPhotos
Cathay Dragon’s Official Website