Dragonair is a lesser known carrier that is the regional sister airline of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Using an all-Airbus fleet of A330-300’s, A321’s, and A320’s, it flies from Hong Kong to various destinations in Asia. This week I was able to sample the Dragonair business class offering on a flight to beijing, so I decided it would be nice to share my experience.
Dragonair Business Class A330 Review HKG-PEK full post
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On Friday the 6th of May, Hong Kong Airlines flight HX6704 from Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) carrying 204 passengers and 12 crew members encountered severe turbulence while flying over northern Indonesia, resulting in the injury of 17: 14 passengers and 3 crew members. The aircraft returned to Denpasar, and landed back in Denpasar two hours after diverting. Twelve people were rushed to the hospital, one with serious injuries. It was reported that some of the passengers were immediately flown to Hong Kong aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight, while others remained in Denpasar for the night.
17 hurt on Hong Kong Airlines flight full post
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Iran Air was founded back in the 1940’s, and in the 70’s and 80’s it was a leading airline of the world, comparable to Emirates today. Sadly, as a result of the Iranian Revolution and unrest in the region, Iran Air was forced to cease many of its international routes and could no longer purchase new Airbus or Boeing aircraft for the past several decades due to tension between governments. However, on January 16 2016, sanctions against Iran civil aviation were lifted after Iran implemented the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) regarding its nuclear program. This was a major breakthrough for Iran Air, who were looking to replace their outdated fleet of Airbus A300’s and Boeing 747-200’s (with an average age of around 30 years) but could not due to sanctions. Just in the past week, Airbus accepted an order from Iran Air for a total of 118 aircraft following a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to France. The order consists of 21 A320’s with the current engine option (ceo), 24 A320’s with the new engine option (neo), 27 A330ceo’s, 18 A330neo’s, 16 A350-1000’s, and 12 A380-800’s. The total value of the deal is around 25 billion US dollars. Airbus has also agreed to assist with pilot and maintenance training for the new aircraft. Iran will also receive help upgrading its civil aviation infrastructure, including aerial navigation systems.
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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.
One of Cathay Pacific Cargo’s 747-400ERF’s, B-LIA, rolled out of HAECO’s Xiamen plant in the new Cathay livery after completing its D-check. The new livery was introduced on the 1st of November 2015 with one of Cathay’s 777-300ER’s, registration B-KPM. After completing its D-check in Xiamen, B-LIA returned to Hong Kong on the 20th of January 2016. The aircraft was delivered to Cathay Pacific Cargo new in mid-2008, and has an age of around 8 years. It is powered by four Pratt & Whitney PW4062A turbofan engines. The 747 version of the livery did have any significant features that wasn’t seen on B-KPM, however the winglets of B-LIA were painted in the same “Cathay green” as the tail, whereas B-KPM and other 777’s don’t have winglets. All of Cathay’s A350’s on order will be delivered in the new livery, and it is expected that Cathay will progressively repaint their current aircraft with the new livery as they undergo their D-checks. It will likely be years before the entire Cathay fleet is able to transition into the new livery, as aircraft are usually repainted only during their D-checks, which happen around once every 6 years. Sadly, there’s a 99.9% chance that Cathay’s passenger 747-400’s won’t be painted in the new livery, as they are no more than a few years away from retirement. It is also likely that Cathay’s older aircraft such as their 777-200’s, A340-300’s, and early A330-300’s will be retired before their next D-check and won’t see the new livery either. I’m desperately hoping that they’ll hang onto their A343’s for a little longer so we’ll get to see them in the new livery. Only time will tell.
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