Dragonair has announced a major rebranding which will bring it closer to Dragonair’s larger owner, Cathay Pacific, as the two airlines attempt to build more continuity between the two airlines. Dragonair will rebrand and rename itself Cathay Dragon after their owner and the subsidy will drop the Dragon Air name to represent Cathay’s ownership of smaller regional carrier Dragon Air. Despite the rename and rebrand, Cathay Dragon will remain it’s own airline with a focus on the greater China region.
Dragonair has been owned by Cathay since 2006, and since that time the two airlines have aligned a number of product offering including hard product such as inflight entertainment, regional business class seats, frequent flyer program, lounge access, and even the dining experience is similar between both airlines. Although there are some slight differences, when traveling between Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, the two airlines seemed as if they are the same with only subtle differences between the airlines. Now the airlines will become even closer by sharing their first names.
“Since Dragonair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific in 2006, it has added 23 new destinations and the number of passengers travelling across both carriers has grown five times to more than 7 million in 2015. The combined annual passenger number of the two airlines grew from 22 million to more than 34 million last year.
This spectacular growth has been made possible by the Cathay Pacific Group’s efforts to channel international passengers to and from Mainland China, regional and long-haul markets through Hong Kong International Airport.
Cathay Pacific’s Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved together. Cathay Dragon is a brand that will be recognisably part of the Cathay Pacific Group for our customers from different parts of the world. The rebranding will enable us to capture the fast-growing passenger flows across the two carriers by creating a more seamless travel experience.
“We are building on what is a true Hong Kong success story that has made our city a leading international aviation hub and gateway to and from Mainland China markets. This rebranding will sharpen our competitive edge by offering an attractive Cathay-led brand package that carries the assurance of a consistently high-quality customer experience.””
As Dragonair rebrands to Cathay Dragon I must say I am utter disappointed with the name change. Although I understand that Cathay wants to expand their global reach and brand name recognition, I think this could have been done in a different way.
For example, Alaska Airlines owns and operates smaller Horizon Air. When they rebranded Horizon Air, they repainted all the planes in Alaska colors and left the Horizon name on the fuselage. Cathay Pacific could have easily done the same by painting and branding all of Dragonair’s planes and then had “Cathay Pacific’s DragonAir” or something along the side of the plane, or place Dragonair in small lettering alongside the name Cathay Pacific. As Cathay Dragon does not flow well in English, I do not know what their marketing departing was thinking, but hopefully their Chinese name sounds better.
Dragonair and Cathay Pacific should have considered something more like this – Spread the name of Cathay Pacific but keep the name of Dragonair on the plane still!
What do you think of the rebranding and new name? Does it makes sense to you?