MIAMI – Today in Aviation, CR Airways (N8) was rebranded as Hong Kong Airlines (HX) in 2006. A new livery and logo were unveiled, based around the city’s symbol the Bauhinia flower.

N8 began life in March 2001 as a helicopter operator using a single Sikorsky S-76C+. In June 2003, it received its first Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200 from Shandong Airlines (SC). It launched passenger flights in July 2003 with a thrice-weekly charter link to Laoag, Philippines.

In 2005, N8 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing for ten 787 Dreamliners and 30 Boeing 737-800s. These aircraft were part of an order originally placed by Hainan Airlines (HU) who had begun the process of taking over the airline.

HX operated nine 737-800s before they were replaced by the Airbus A320. It received its first A320 on January 25, 2012. (Photo: Peter Bakema (GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons)

HNA Group Takeover


The takeover was confirmed on June 27, 2006, with HU owner the HNA Group purchasing around a 60% shareholding. The purchase was to expand HU’s presence in the Hong Kong market to connect the city with China and beyond.

Plans initially were to rebrand both airlines as Grand China Air. However, this idea was shelved with Hainan keeping its branding and CR Airways becoming Hong Kong Airlines.

The carrier took delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 XWB on September 1, 2017. (Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways)

In recent years, the carrier has struggled financially due to the ongoing political and social unrest in Hong Kong. It has also come under intense scrutiny over its financial health by the city’s civil aviation authorities, as rumors circulated over a possible liquidation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to the carrier cutting 700 jobs and grounding its entire Airbus A320 fleet.


Featured image: CR Airways launched passenger flights with a single CRJ-200 sourced from Shandong Airlines in 2003. (Photo: M Radzi Desa (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2 ), via Wikimedia Commons)