LONDON – Hong Kong Airlines has announced that it is working on plans to help consolidate its fleet and route network.
The announcement comes after months of financial stresses hitting the airline this year.
It is believed that the cuts to the airlines fleet will see the number of planes drop from 38 to 28, which will mostly be through the removal of its ageing A330-200’s.
The carrier currently operates a fleet of 21 A330s, 11 A320s and Six A350s all of which are in service, it is believed that the carrier has an additional three A350s in storage.
It has not yet been made clear, however, on how the airline will proceed with its aircraft on order.
The carrier has 27 new aircraft on its order books which include one A320, six Boeing 777 Freighters, 11 A350-900s and nine A330-300s, but has made no comment on whether or not these new planes will replace their entire current fleet, or if they will be sent back or cancelled.
Hong Kong Airlines released a statement which said: “Hong Kong Airlines is here to stay and committed to sustaining our long-term growth. We have and will remain open to discussions with strong strategic investors,”
In a report from Flight Global, it is believed that the Hong Kong Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) had reportedly said that they were “gravely concerned” of reports that were circling about the airline having claims against them for recovery of arrears in court and has since asked the airline to “explain the situation” over concerns that the carrier may soon start to slowly disappear.
These comments were made after a report was released by aircraft lessor AerCap and trust provider Wilmington Trust, who it is believed are both seeking around $19.1 million dollars from the carrier all of which are unpaid lease rental fees for an estimated eight aircraft.
It is believed that Cathay Pacific is interested in the purchase of shares in the airline and that the carrier is weighing up the possibility of taking a minority stake in Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express, although reports from the airline say that they are currently only in talks with Hong Kong Express.
It is not yet clear on whether or not the airline is in trouble or if a simple restructure of the operations is all that it needs, however, what is clear is that the airline has outstanding debts to pay and people including airlines around the world will be watching very carefully on how this develops in the coming months.