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Friday, January 29, 2016, 09:07

Enter the new sky ‘dragon’

By Oswald Chan in Hong Kong
Enter the new sky ‘dragon’
After rebrandi ng Dragonair as Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific plans to sharpen its sister airline’s competitive edge by offering a Cathay-led brand package, but would not consider going into the budget airline business. (Provided to China Daily)

Cathay Pacific Airways’ wholly-owned sister airline Dragonair will be renamed Cathay Dragon as part of the group’s strategy to capitalize on the two carriers’ international and mainland aviation networks and provide seamless travel experience for global travelers.

However, the rebranding will not involve the merger of the two airlines as they will continue to operate separately under their own licenses.

The rebranding will see a new livery created for Cathay Dragon featuring a Cathay-style brushwing logo. The 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 fleet.

The Cathay Pacific group will spend HK$100 million on launching international advertising and marketing campaigns to publicize the new corporate image by the end of this year.

“This rebranding will sharpen the competitive edge of Cathay Dragon’s image by offering an attractive Cathay-led brand package that carries the assurance of a consistently high-quality experience,” Cathay Pacific’s Chief Executive Ivan Chu Kwok-leung said on Thursday.

“By leveraging Cathay Pacific’s international networks and Cathay Dragon’s mainland networks, the rebranding exercise can further cement Hong Kong’s status as a key aviation hub and a gateway to the Chinese mainland,” Cathay Dragon’s Chief Executive Officer Algernon Yau Ying-wah noted.

Chu said the two carriers will continue to focus on delivering superb services to customers and would not consider going into the budget airline business.

“By 2020, there’ll be 200 million mainland tourists flying out of the country, and 130 million international travelers visiting the Chinese mainland. We believe the rebranding initiative is the best option for our customers and staff,” he said.

Since Dragonair became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific in 2006, it has added 23 new destinations, while passenger numbers on both carriers had grown five-fold to more than 7 million last year.

The combined annual passenger capacity of the two airlines grew from 22 million to more than 34 million in 2015.

Cathay Pacific has ordered 48 aircraft of the A350 model that will offer better cabin products and be more environmental-friendly. About 12 A350 aircraft will be delivered this year. The Hong Kong-based flagship carrier will continue fuel hedging measures as a long-term risk management strategy to contain the impact of volatile oil prices on the carrier’s profitability.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd’s share price dropped 1.15 percent to close at HK$12.4 apiece on Thursday.

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