Dragonair to join oneworld, maintaining alliance's lead in China and strengthening Hong Kong hub13 December 2006
Dragonair - the Hong Kong-based airline that serves more destinations in Mainland China than any other airline not based there - is to join oneworld® , the leading quality global airline alliance.
It becomes the 11th airline lining up to board oneworld in 2007 - alongside members elect Japan Airlines and five of its affiliates, Malév Hungarian, Royal Jordanian, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador - in the alliance's biggest expansion programme since its launch.
Dragonair will add a total of 15 destinations to the oneworld map, 12 of them in Mainland China, giving oneworld a total of 22 points served in the country. Overall, Dragonair operates to 19 points in the Mainland with some 400 flights a week from its Hong Kong hub.
The 12 points in China it will bring on board for oneworld are Chongqing, Changsha, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Haikou, Kunming, Guilin, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shenyang, Sanya and Wuhan. Elsewhere, it will add Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Phuket (Thailand) to the alliance map. By adding Phnom Penh, oneworld will connect with one new country – Cambodia.
Dragonair's election on board oneworld follows its integration with alliance founder member Cathay Pacific Airways in September this year. While it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, Dragonair has retained its own brand and identity, market positioning and separate "KA" flight code.
All parties are committed to bring Dragonair on board oneworld as soon as possible in 2007, immediately all necessary joining technicalities and processes have been completed.
As a oneworld affiliate, Dragonair will offer the alliance's full range of services and benefits. This means its frequent flyers will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers. Top-tier members will have access to the 400 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance's airlines.
Members of other oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on Dragonair. Its network will also be covered by oneworld's extensive range of alliance fares.
Dragonair's addition to oneworld comes as the alliance strengthens its presence in Asia Pacific considerably with Japan Airlines, the region's biggest airline, on track to join early next year, along with its associated carriers JALways, Japan Asia Airways, JAL Express, J-Air and Japan Transocean Air as affiliate members.
Another of Asia Pacific's leading airlines, Qantas, is also a oneworld founder member, with its QantasLink regional operation and Australian Airlines wet-lease provider affiliate members of the group. Elsewhere, oneworld's members currently include American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus, plus 14 affiliates.
With Dragonair, oneworld's new recruits will expand the alliance's network by almost 100 destinations, giving a total of some 700 destinations in almost 150 countries.
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "Since its launch eight years ago, oneworld has been the only alliance with a member from greater China, in our Hong Kong-based founder member Cathay Pacific. The addition of Dragonair means that oneworld will maintain its lead in this important, fast-growing region. With our combination of Dragonair, Cathay Pacific and the award-winning Hong Kong hub, it means that oneworld will offer the best quality airline service for travel to or from the whole of China."
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen said: "We are delighted that Dragonair will become an affiliate member of oneworld, offering alliance passengers greater access to various destinations in Mainland China. As one of the founder members of oneworld, Cathay Pacific recognises the value of being part of this grouping of high-quality airlines and we are sure Dragonair's joining will add value for alliance customers and fellow member airlines alike."
Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Kenny Tang added: "Becoming an affiliate member of oneworld is an exciting development for Dragonair and is yet another benefit to result from our joining the Cathay Pacific group. We are pleased that oneworld customers will be able to connect through Hong Kong to our extensive network of destinations in the China Mainland, along with the other business and leisure destinations we serve within the Asia Pacific region."
Dragonair, named "Best Airline - China" for the fifth year running in the latest international Skytrax passenger survey, operates scheduled services to 19 destinations in Mainland China from its Hong Kong base - more than any other non-Mainland carrier - with more than 400 flights a week.
It also offers scheduled passengers services to Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Tokyo in Japan, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Kota Kinabulu In Malaysia and Dhaka in Bangladesh. On 15 December Dragonair relaunches a daily service to Phuket in Thailand, and on 19 January 2007 begins a new thrice-weekly service to Busan in Korea.
The airline operates a fleet of 13 Airbus A330-300s, six A321s and nine A320s, plus four Boeing 747-200/-300 Freighters, one 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter, one wet-leased A300B4 Freighter and one wet-leased Boeing 747-400 Freighter.
Its aircraft feature two- and three-class cabins, with First offering lie-flat seats. It provides high quality in-flight entertainment throughout its aircraft in a selection of languages.
In 2005, the airline flew just more than five million passengers and with a network capacity of more than 10 billion ASKs. It employs 3 300 staff worldwide.
Dragonair launched operations 21 years ago with a Boeing 737-200 leaving Hong Kong for Kota Kinabalu. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways on 28 September 2006.
Besides Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, Hong Kong is served by oneworld partners British Airways, Finnair, Qantas and member elect Japan Airlines.
The alliance's existing airlines and members elect already serve nine points in mainland China – Bejing (AY, BA, CX, QF and JL), Shanghai Pudong (AA, AY, BA, CX, QF and JL) Guangzhou (AY and JL), Xiamen (CX and JL), Dalian, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin and Xian, (JL).
oneworld enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges. Together, its existing members serve more than 600 destinations in some 135 countries.
oneworld is the only alliance to enable passengers to fly throughout its network, on any combination of carriers, using just electronic tickets.
oneworld was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the fourth year running in the 2006 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170 000 travel professionals, including more than 110 000 travel agents in 200 countries.
It is also the only alliance whose members reported collective profits in their latest full year.
Member elect Malév will expand the group's network in Central and Eastern Europe, while Royal Jordanian is the first airline from the Arab world to find a home with a global airline alliance.
The addition of LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador will further consolidate oneworld's position as the leading alliance serving Latin America.