Speculation is rising that Dragonair, the sister carrier of Cathay Pacific Airways, is to be rebranded as “Cathay Dragon” in order to strengthen synergy between the two airlines.
A press conference will be held tomorrow at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre, hosted by both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, in which “a major announcement will be made”, according to media invitations sent out yesterday.
Following the HK$8.22 billion (US$1 billion) acquisition of Dragonair back in 2006, Cathay Pacific said that it would allow the regional carrier to operate under its own brand for at least six years.
Reports of a possible rebrand began circulating in early 2013 when photos featuring a Dragonair aircraft with the words “Cathay Dragon” emblazoned on its livery were leaked, but nothing was announced by the two airlines then.
Several other clues have since appeared that indicate tomorrow’s announcement will indeed be about a “Cathay Dragon” rebrand.
For instance, JC Wings, an aircraft model manufacturer, has revealed its February 2016 lineup, in which it detailed a 1:200 scale model of a "Cathay Dragon" A330-300.
Dragonair is a recognisable brand in mainland China, with an impressive network throughout the country. However, brand recognition is much weaker for international passengers, especially those based outside Asia, who are typically unaware that the carrier is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.
A rebrand to “Cathay Dragon” would therefore strengthen the Cathay Pacific group’s corporate identity while making the brand recognisable to both mainland and international customers.