Dragonair competes on a daily basis with legacy and low-cost carriers alike, and will continue to do so should Jetstar Hong Kong’s air operator’s certificate application be approved.
Speaking to Flightglobal Pro in a recent interview, its chief executive Patrick Yeung says there are at least 17 low-cost carriers operating services to Hong Kong currently.
“Does it really matter that they are not based in Hong Kong right now? There isn’t a route that Dragonair now operates that there isn’t another carrier flying on,” he adds.
The regional carrier is, however, objecting against the entry of Jetstar Hong Kong because “the application does not fit with the basic law requirement”.
Yeung argues that the law requires the airline to have its principal place of business in Hong Kong, but since Jetstar is a franchise of Qantas, “eventual control and management” will be in Australia.
“We object because it does not fulfil what the law says. Hong Kong is a place of rule and law," says Yeung. "We already compete with so many other carriers, with everybody every day. What’s important is to get your position right, have products and services that will make customers buy more tickets from you."
For the year ahead, Dragonair will continue to put its focus on services to mainland China and Asia from its Hong Kong hub.
The Cathay Pacific subsidiary serves 22 points in China with some 400 weekly flights, and will continue looking for opportunities to add new destinations or increase frequencies on existing routes in the coming year.
Asked whether the carrier is evaluating new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A320neo, Yeung says: “To be honest we’re just keeping a look at how to make use of our 41 aircraft on hand. Unless we find a gold mine, in the near future, we will work closely with the existing equipment and network we have. Step it up, make it more efficient.”
This year, the carrier also started retrofitting new business and economy class seats on its A321s and A330-300s.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows that Dragonair has a fleet of 41 aircraft in service. This includes 15 A320s, six A321s and 20 A330s. it also has one A320 on order.