B-HXB
Topic Author
Posts: 678
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Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Tue Jan 21, 2003 10:43 am

21 January 2003 Source: TheStandard

"Dragonair has launched a HK$195 million cabin revamp of its entire fleet of 21 passenger aircraft. The new interiors, including new lie-flat beds in first class, will initially be installed on planes flying routes to Beijing and Shanghai.

The carrier denied the move was in response to plans by Cathay Pacific Airways to start services to Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Asked if the upgrade was the result of competition with other airlines, Dragonair general manager (marketing and sales) Andy Tung said it had taken 17 months from conception to launching the new cabins.

"I wouldn't say it's being done for a specific route or competitor, the whole market is elevating" he said.

Dragonair chief executive Stanley Hui said "travellers in Asia expect high levels of personal service and facilities to match - Dragonair now delivers this."

Tung said the first aircraft with a revamped cabin, a 284-passenger Airbus A330, would leave tomorrow on a flight to Beijing.

It is the first time a lie-flat bed has been incorporated on an aircraft flying short-haul intra-Asian routes. Dragonair deputy general manager Hong Kong Titus Diu said another two A330s would be fitted with the new interiors by the end of March.

Initially, Dragonair plans to upgrade its fleet of nine three-class A330s with the lie-flat beds and personal video monitors in first class and in-seat power supply in first, business and some economy seats. Once work on these aircraft is completed, the carrier will revamp its fleet of single-aisle two-class Airbus A320s and A321s.

The work is being carried out by Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering. The new cabins will be fitted across Dragonair's entire fleet by March 2004. Tung said with the lie-flat beds being fitted in first class, Dragonair was reducing the number of first class seats from 18 to 12. The upgrade comes with Dragonair's prospects looking fairly healthy.

"I would expect the market to sustain healthy growth. In China, business travel is very strong," Tung said.

Tung believed the recent ending of restrictions on mainlanders travelling abroad meant "we are now in the early stages of growth in outbound travel. It will be big, very big"."

Ok, my first reaction: WHAT THE HELL?!

KA is a REGIONAL carrier. Why bother with lie-flat beds at all? Why would it be worth the extra expense to refit the cabin especially considering their current competition?

The only likely explanation is that this is geared towards their starting up long-haul routes. But right now the only one they have rights for or are applying for that would need beds in F is Sydney. And that does not justify retrofitting 9 A330's.

What are KA thinking?
 
hkgspotter1
Posts: 5750
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:43 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Tue Jan 21, 2003 7:05 pm

Well If you have to go to Beijing and you could have all that would you fly MU, CI or KA ?

Not to mention they plan to go to Bangkok and Seoul so I see this as a great idea.
 
rupertvander82
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2002 10:19 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Tue Jan 21, 2003 10:49 pm

They should fly to SIN. SIN has a few airlines flying on HKG - SIN, and it's a very profitable route, so they might score with that one, if they build up a reputation with some good timings.
 
kanebear
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RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 6:01 am

B-HXB I agree completely!! PVG-HKG is 778 mi and PEK-HKG 1229 mi. Max you're talking a three hour flight, that's it!! I doubt CX would even put the three-class A/C on these runs, they'll use the regional two class fleet. Great, so KA will have a better cabin but there's so much more to CX than a nice seat.

Given the choice between KA's flat F seat (for 2.5 hours on a daylight flight when it's all but meaningless), or being able to avoid interlining, earn mileage, and enjoy elite benefits on CX I'll take CX every single time. KA needs to stick to what they do best and not try to out-Cathay CX.
 
B-HXB
Topic Author
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RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:20 am

"Well If you have to go to Beijing and you could have all that would you fly MU, CI or KA ?"

Take a look at CX's fleet - the only regional routes they offer F in are Tokyo, Manila, Taipei and Bangkok - and even then some of those are probably only because of their unique fleet deployment policy. To me it just doesn't make sense for KA to splurge on reinventing a product that doesn't need reinvention!
 
hkgspotter1
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:43 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 10:06 am

Hello !!

1) They are going to go longhaul (Australia)

2) Even the non longhaul A330's are going to go to Korea or Bangkok so some passengers will want First class.
 
carnoc
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Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2001 3:15 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 11:54 am

Someone told me that the move by KA isn't only because KA wants to be more competitive with CX (if it can gets the right to reoperate flights between mainland and Hong Kong), KA has also felt some fears from mainland Chinese carriers.

According to an analyst who're based in Hong Kong, he said that mainland Chinese carriers are quickly catching up with some of world's best carriers. Particularly, on PEK/HKG route, Air China has done some great improvements in the recent months. They have launched new catering service on some selected flights between PEK and HKG. Meanwhile, the upgrading of Air China's B747s is still in progress (from unconfirmed information, at least 3 Air China B747 aircrafts have been installed with the newly designed business class seats and better inflight entertainment system etc) and Air China has also recently reconfigured some B767s to give passenger more legroom etc. In addition, Air China will be reapplying to be a member of WAEA (don't know the full name, but it would probably be World's Aviation [or maybe Airline] Entertainment Assocation or something like that) as well. He told me that there is no doubt that Dragonair will face more competitions not only from CX, but also Chinese airlines and being one of Dragonair's supporters in the past ten years, he has already given some of his air traveling businesses to Air China on flights into mainland. He reckon that there will be more people to fly with carriers like Air China or China Southern etc unless Dragonair to improve its products and services continually.
 
lutfi
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 6:33 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 1:05 pm

SIN-HKG:

UA
GA
QF
CI
CX
SQ

Wouldn't call six airlines "a few"

I agree with Carnoc, think this has more to do with competition with CA, rather than CX.
 
B-HXB
Topic Author
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RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 1:39 pm

"Even the non longhaul A330's are going to go to Korea or Bangkok so some passengers will want First class."
First class, yes, but bed seats? For a 4 hour journey?

Dragonair's a regional airline operating regional routes, with 1 planned longhaul in the future. Look at it this way: if I am going to book from HKG to PEK, I'm not going to fly KA simply because they have bed seats because most passengers won't have a need for them. Sure, KA needs to install video IFE and the rest of it if it plans on expanding, but aren't bed seats going a bit over the top? However, having said that, I don't know what type of equipment CA offer on HKG-PEK routes eg whether they use international aircraft or not.
 
alexchao
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 1:55 pm

I've never flown Dragonair, and I don't plan to in the near future. But, if I were a First Class passenger, I wouldn't mind having a flat bed seat even for a one hour flight. It might be unnecessary, but at least its there for the people that want it, and its a nice touch.

-alexchao
 
carnoc
Posts: 758
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2001 3:15 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 2:03 pm

B-HXB,

According to Air China's official web site, CA uses B733, B738, B767, B777 and B747s on PEK/HKG route.

Additionally, Air China has also got flights from Chengdu, Tianjin, Dalian Chonqging, Guiyang to Hong Kong and some of these flights have only been in schedule for not even a year. However, Air China's increase of frequency and route between Hong Kong and China's mainland means a big battle to Dragonair. For example, Dragonair used to be the only carrier who serves flights between Dalian and Hong Kong, but they are now having to fight for the limited market with Air China. I think Dragonair has already noticed that unless they continue to upgrade their products and services, otherwise they may no longer be first choice for flyers between China and Hong Kong in the future.
 
SQ772
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 5:16 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 2:40 pm

I agree that if KA's going to continue being a regional carrier, there's really no need to have flat beds. If their intention is to go longhaul, then flat beds would come in handy. They may have other routes which you don't know planned besides the single SYD route they are applying for. So maybe it's a little too early for you guys to rave and grunt just because KA decides to install flatbeds on their A330s!

Anyway, does KA have F class? Thought they only had J and Y? I snapped this picture in the forward cabin of their A330, looks more J than F to me!



A little off topic, but what makes CX and KA so different? Having tried both on flights of equal duration, let me share my experiences...

On the Ground:
CX - great service on the ground. Everything runs like clockwork (in SIN and HKG).
KA - disorganised and "lost" on the ground (in HKG)

Inflight:
CX - Y class service no better than any other Asian carrier (and definitely not ahead of SQ. En par yes, ahead no). Can't comment about their premium class product now since the last time I flew with them up front was ages ago.

KA - Surprisingly very enthusiastic crew, very eager to please. Just have to work on their mandarin and english. Appears to be predominantly cantonese speaking crew. Then again, many of CX's Y class crew from Taiwan, Japan, Thailand do not seem very comfortable with English as well...

Just my 2cts.




There's always a better way to fly...
 
GuyBetsy1
Posts: 807
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2001 4:00 am

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 5:21 pm

KA will retrofit their A330 fleet with flat beds because they are readying for their SYDNEY runs. Might as well 'do' the entire fleet for commonality's sake and while there is downtime between SYDNEY flights, the aircraft has got to fly somewhere... so China is it.
 
B-HXB
Topic Author
Posts: 678
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 12:04 pm

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 5:48 pm

Oh well, I suppose KA know what they're doing. It'll be interesting to see what the overall result is, though. 12 seats in F is 4 more than what CX have on their A330's, so perhaps "lie-flat" bed is an euphemism for something like CX/SQ's New Business Class products?

On a side note, "any of CX's Y class crew from Taiwan, Japan, Thailand do not seem very comfortable with English as well..."
While all crew members I've encountered (including some junior flight attendants) have had speakable English, I have noticed that CX's F/A's (females in the brightly-brushwinged shirts) mostly seem to be Hong Kong natives, whereas senior crew are pretty much spread evenly between Philippines, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong (some Thailand, Singapore, Korea etc. but not a lot I've met).
 
agmyvr
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 8:45 am

RE: Dragonair Cabin Revamp

Wed Jan 22, 2003 6:15 pm

of course, KA needs to upgrade their services and products, specailly inflight, eventhough she is still an regional carrier, who knows what she will be in the future.

Flat seat in F, and PTV with 5 channels = my 2 1/2 hrs BKKHKG F in CX 8 years ago

Pull down screen for short features in J = my 3 1/2 SINHKG J in CX 9 years ago

KA still has a long way to go but it's a good start!