Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific is set to rebrand their subsidiary Dragonair as Cathay Dragon as part of its recent corporate identity campaign, in which we saw the launch of their new livery. The move would increase the amount of association between the two airlines and improve recognition of the Dragonair brand outside of China, where it conducts most of its operations. The move will not be a complete merger, and the two airlines will continue to have separate fleets, crew, routes, and operating certificates. There were rumours circulating a while back that there would be a complete merger of the two airliners someday, however I personally dismissed this rumour as a merger is highly unlikely. Cathay definitely wants to keep its status as a premium airline with an all wide-body fleet serving only major international routes such as competitors Emirates and Singapore Airlines. A merger with Dragonair and the subsequent acquisition of narrow-bodies and domestic routes would ruin Cathay’s status by turning it into a standard airline like Lufthansa, and make them lose out in their competition with EK and SQ.
Dragonair was founded in 1985 and operated as an individual airline until 2006, when it was acquired by Cathay Pacific and its parent companies Swire Group and Air China. For the past decade after the acquisition, Dragonair has been operating as a separate airline but have kept close ties with Cathay. Passengers flying a route on one airline can switch to a different flight on the other airline, and the two share loyalty programs and airport lounges among others. Cathay have also transferred some of their used A330-300’s over the Dragonair. The other major change that will be brought on by the rebranding aside from the name change is that Dragonair will receive a new updated livery, probably featuring similar color schemes and design elements that were seen on the new Cathay livery. It is unknown whether or not Dragonair will receive an updated logo with the rebranding.