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Hong Kong bids farewell to its once-mighty Dragon airline

Cathay unit founded as a symbol of Hong Kong's transition back to Chinese rule

A Dragonair jet in 1998. Cathay Pacific said on Oct. 21 that it would shut down Cathay Dragon as a separate unit as part of a restructuring plan that involves cutting 8,500 positions.   © AFP/Jiji

HONG KONG -- Benson Wong Wai-kwok took his first-ever flight on Dragonair -- the predecessor to Cathay Dragon -- 27 years ago, forgoing the train and flying from Beijing back to his native Hong Kong after completing a summer course in China' capital.

Dragonair's iconic red dragon logo carried a deeper meaning for Wong, who was a university student at the time. He traces his first memory of the airline to 1989, when Dragonair sent a chartered flight to Beijing to retrieve stranded Hong Kong journalists who had been covering the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

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