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Cathay Dragon brand retired, 6,100 staff cut

After 35 years Hong King's second airline is no more

Cathay Dragon brand retired, 6,100 staff cut

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has announced the closure of its subsidiary Cathay Dragon, formerly Dragonair, and is cutting 8,500 jobs.

Cathay Dragon was a full service regional carrier flying mainly to mainland China and other Asian destinations. Cathay Pacific and its budget regional carrier Hong Kong Express the majority of the routes previously served by Cathay Dragon.

Cathay Pacific chairman Patrick Healy said:

What we need to do is focus our efforts on a single premium full-service carrier brand, which will be Cathay Pacific, complemented by a single low-cost leisure brand in Hong Kong Express.

This crisis is deeper, and the road to recovery slower and more patchy than anyone thought possible just a few months ago.

The 6,100 announced job losses are on top of a further 2,400 unfilled vacant positions in the airline group, and are around 24% of the Cathay Pacific group’s total staff.

Founded on 24 May 1985 as Dragonair the airline was the first with financial backing of both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese investors. It began operations in June of the same year, operating charter flights to China and cities in South East Asia. Cargo flights were operated to the UK and Europe, with Manchester being a regional hub for the carrier.

Copyright: Chris Globe

Dragonair was the first local competitor for Hong Kong’s largest airline, Cathay Pacific, in forty years; and since the airline’s inception, Cathay Pacific fought vigorously to block the airline’s flight-slot applications.

After adding new routes to its network Cathay Pacific acquired a stake in the airline in 1990, and then bought it outright in 2006. Cathay Pacific changed the brand name to Cathay Dragon in 2016.

Feature image copyright Flickr/Kwok Ho Eddie Wong CC-BY-NC

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