In January 2016, Cathay Pacific announced that their wholly owned subsidiary, Dragonair, will be rebranded as Cathay Dragon. Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s regional service, operating flights from Hong Kong to mainland China and Southeast Asia. Presumably, this change is to unify the brands, leveraging the internationally more well known “Cathay” brand for its regional operator.
Well, it looks like more than 10 months later, Cathay Dragon is finally ready to take over as the new “brand.” Cathay Pacific announced that Dragonair will officially be rebranded as Cathay Dragon, effective November 21, 2016.
I think most noticeably, passengers flying to or from mainland China will now have a more uniform experience, at least in terms of branding. Many who live outside of China and Hong Kong were not aware that Dragonair is a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, and this change will likely decrease any potential confusion.
Since the change actually unifies the two brand, I don’t think it really requires all that much explanation. “Cathay Dragon” aircraft will bear a new livery, with the Cathay Pacific brushwing logo, but in red instead of green. The old Dragonair emblem will continue to be present though, at the head of the aircraft.
For a brand alignment that is mostly just visual, I think Cathay Pacific seems to be making this a much bigger deal that it really is. But Cathay Pacific is a world renown, full-service, premium airline. Perhaps they were hoping the rebranding will help provide a “halo” to the soon ex-Dragonair product. Though I’d argue that Dragonair didn’t really need that to begin with.
At any rate, if you start hearing Cathay Dragon mentioned in in-flight announcements, you will know that the rebranding is finally live!