Hong Kong Airlines plans to accelerate its intercontinental expansion with the scheduled delivery of its first Airbus A350 in August 2017.
In 2010, the carrier ordered 15 A350s, which will be introduced starting from 2017, and 10 A330s that were delivered starting from 2012. It also placed an order for nine more A330s in September 2016.
The Hong Kong-based carrier expects to open new routes to Vancouver; London; New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Paris; Melbourne, Australia; Sydney; Milan; Chicago; and Christchurch, New Zealand, between 2017-20. The carrier opened two intercontinental routes (Hong Kong-Gold Coast-Keynes and Hong Kong-Auckland) earlier this year.
According to co-chairman Zhang Kui, the airline currently operates international routes to more than 30 cities in the Asia-Pacific region, with passenger boardings of more than 6.6 million in 2016, accounting for a 10% share of the Hong Kong market.
CCO Li Dianchun told local media the carrier can utilize sixth-freedom rights to attract more of China’s mainland passengers, to maintain a high load factor that is expected to reach 82% this year. Thirty percent of the expected load factor will be transfer passengers.
Meantime, the carrier noted it would open a new lounge, covering more than 1,000 square meters (10,800 sq. ft.), at Hong Kong Airport in the first quarter of 2017. The airport started to build its third runway in August, for construction is to be complete in 2022. After the third runway goes into operation, Hong Kong Airport would be capable of handling 100 million passengers per year.
(Katie Cantle - ATWOnline News)