In May, 1985, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Macau International Investment Co., commencing operations in June, with a fleet consisting of a single Boeing 737-200A.
In 1986, Dragonair was serving six cities in China on a regular charter basis.
Next year, Dragonair became the first Hong Kong-based airline to be admitted as an active member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In 1990, CITIC Pacific, the Swire Group and Cathay Pacific purchased an 89% stake in Dragonair.
During 1991, Dragonair linked with Cathay Pacific’s CUPID reservation system and CUBIC cargo reservation system and acquired a 40% stake in the flight kitchen operated by LSG Lufthansa.
In March, 1993, the first Airbus A320 aircraft joined the Dragonair fleet, while the sixth arrived in December.
In July, 1995, the first purchased Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft joined the Dragonair fleet.
In 1997, Dragonair established its own cargo sales department which replaced Cathay Pacific as general sales agents for the airline’s cargo services.
In 1998, Dragonair’s premiere passenger lounge at new Hong Kong International Airport opened, and a a Dragonair flight became the last scheduled service to land at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airport (in July).
In September, 1999, Dragonair officially joined Asia Miles, the region’s leading frequent flyer programme.
During 2000, all Dragonair’s regular flights converted to scheduled services, and “The Elite” loyalty programme is launched.
In the following 4 years, new Boeing and Airbus aircraft join the fleet, and various international routes open.
In June, 2005, Dragonair was voted Best Airline – China for a fourth consecutive year in the Skytrax passenger survey.
In late September, 2006, Dragonair becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways. During the same year, the airline breaks some of its own records (freight carried during a month, passengers flown in a day/month).
During the following year, Dragonair broke its own records once again, and added new routes to the network. It also won a few international awards, including Yahoo!Emotive Brand Award 2006-2007 airline category (second consecutive year) or ‘Top Airline for Potential Value’ at the 2007 World Traveller Awards.
In June, 2008, Dragonair becomes a 100% e-ticket airline. In mid-December, Dragonair launches its mobile check-in service for passengers – m.dragonair.com.
During 2009, the “Manage My Booking” online service is launched, as well as the “KA Mobile” application for users of different smart phone platforms.
In 2010, Dragonair was voted World’s Best Regional Airline for the first time in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards.
In 2011, in addition to the World’s Best Regional Airline, Dragonair was also voted Best Regional Airline in Asia in the World Airline Survey conducted by Skytrax.
In 2012, growing at an unprecedented pace, Dragonair launched or resumed flights to eight destinations, expanded its fleet with six aircraft, four Airbus A320s and two Airbus A330s, and broke the previous record of passengers carried in a year.
In January 2013, Dragonair announced that the majority of the fleet will be retrofitted with new Business and Economy Class seats. Also, the upgrade of the cabins of all classes will include a new inflight entertainment system, StudioKA, to provide full audio and video on demand.
In November 2013, Dragonair made its Mobile Boarding Pass service available through Passbook and was voted the World’s Best Regional Airline and Best Regional Airline Asia in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards.
In December 2013, Dragonair unveiled its brand-new First Class seat designed around the passenger’s needs together with a range of inflight products. A330-300s with three classes will be the first on which will be installed the new First Class product.
Starting April 2014, Dragonair started a twice-weekly service to Denpasar (Bali), its first destination in Indonesia. The service is operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with a two-class configuration, featuring the new Business Class and Economy Class cabins and the brand new on-demand inflight entertainment system.
In 2015, Dragonair won two awards, Best Regional Airline in Asia and, for the fourth time, World’s Best Regional Airline.
In November 2016, Dragonair was rebranded as Cathay Dragon, the premium, full-service regional airline of the Cathay Pacific group. For this change, a new livery, similar to Cathay Pacific’s new livery in the tail logo and font, has been adopted, while Dragonair’s Dragon logo still appears next to the cockpit windows. With a shared commitment to both service and design, the new, closer partnership between Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon offers a better, smoother, and more integrated travel experience.
In March 2017, Cathay Dragon website was merged into Cathay Pacific website, the latest development in Cathay Dragon’s rebranding process so that the customers of both airlines can benefit from a seamless and enhanced online experience at cathaypacific.com.
In June 2018, Cathay Dragon and Finnair started new codeshare cooperation on six routes operated between Hong Kong and selected destinations in Asia. The new codeshare agreement adds five new destinations to Finnair’s network in Asia.
In July 2019, Cathay Dragon and American Airlines launched a new codeshare agreement. The agreement adds four new destinations and increased service to three routes in Southeast Asia to the American Airlines route network.
In February 2020, facing an unprecedented challenge as the COVID19 pandemic, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a combined total of 1,008,644 passengers, a decrease of 54.1% when compared to February 2019.
So far, there have been no deadly incidents involving Cathay Dragon aircraft.