DALLAS – Hong Kong Airlines (HX) is adding three Airbus A330-300 aircraft to its fleet, following a tumultuous period of downsizing during the pandemic. Indeed, since the beginning of 2020 and the rapid onset of strict travel protocols at the start of the pandemic, HX withdrew a total of 11 A330s. The aircraft, configured in a two-class layout for up to 292 passengers, will be added to the existing fleet of four of the type currently in service.
Underscoring the uptick in demand, HX has announced that their cargo subsidiary, Hong Kong Air Cargo (RH) is also expanding. RH has wet-leased in an additional A330 Freighter from Maltese operator Galistair (GTR). The additional A330-300F joins RH’s existing fleet of five A330-200F aircraft.
Airline Chairman, Mr Hou Wei said, “During the recent Dragon Boat Festival holiday, our ticket sales were strong, reaching a peak since the pandemic began. The load factor even exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 7%, the result is quite encouraging, as our profitability has significantly improved, and it also demonstrates our flight resumption efforts this year continue to gain traction. We will accelerate the recovery of flights and expand the coverage of our flight destination network.”
“In terms of talent recruitment, despite the fierce competition in the local and overseas talent markets, we have successfully achieved our recruitment goals for the first half of the year. The company will continue to actively recruit to support our rapidly growing business and expanding fleet, and allocate resources for effective training to increase competitiveness. We look forward to more outstanding talent joining the Hong Kong Airlines team!”
HX is currently focusing on strengthening its regional route network and added the popular Thai resort of Phuket (HKT) earlier this month. The island is served four times a week using Airbus A320 aircraft. Additional destinations in China and Japan are expected to be progressively introduced during the summer season to meet increased demand.
At the end of 2022, approval was given by the High Court in Hong Kong and the UK for the airline to begin a period of restructuring. Underlining the criticality of the need to transform, legal papers from the Hong Kong High Court stated that the carrier was cash flow insolvent and that liquidation was, “very likely”, unless indebtedness could be restructured. Over a third of the airline’s debts were subject to agreements governed by English law, which required approval from both judicial jurisdictions.
The airline’s operating licence was renewed earlier this year but it had to demonstrate to the Hong Kong Air Transport Licensing Authority that it was a financially viable entity. The approval of the restructuring plan was essential in order for the regulator permitting HX to continue flying.
HX began operations in 2003 under the name of CR Airways but was acquired by Hainan Airlines (HU) in 2006. Whilst both carriers sharing the same eye catching red, yellow and white livery, both carriers are operated as separate airlines.
Featured Image: Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330-200 B-LNJ. Photo: Liam Funnell/Airways.