As one of the major local carriers, Hong Kong Airlines has been rooted in its home city for 17 years and has always been committed to providing passengers with a wide range of travel options. After three exceptionally challenging years of pandemic, the company's operations have returned to trajectory this year, enabling a swift business recovery.
Optimistic Business Recovery in 2023
Mr Jevey Zhang, Chairman of Hong Kong Airlines, stated, "We are very pleased to see that our flight operations have returned to pre-pandemic levels before year-end, surpassing our initial forecast of a full recovery by mid-2024. We also anticipate that our average passenger load factor to rebound to 85% by 2023. With more than eight times the number of flight sectors and 38 times the number of passengers carried in the first three quarters of the year compared to the same period last year, the performance outlook is truly optimistic!”
Outstanding Performance in the Japanese Market
This year, Hong Kong Airlines has increased the number of destinations in Japan to nine, including Kumamoto, Hakodate and Yonago, which will be added to the existing Fukuoka and Nagoya services in December. On the Chinese mainland, flights to eight cities, totalling 10 destinations were resumed this year. Meanwhile, Phuket has been added to the regional route network, along with flight resumption to Bali. Above all, Hong Kong Airlines will be the only carrier to offer direct flight service from Hong Kong to the Maldives, bringing the airline’s network coverage to 25 destinations.
Due to the recovery in tourism and the impact of the yen exchange rate, the performance of the Japanese market was the most prominent. Passenger load factors during the traditional peak travel season of summer holidays remained above 90% this year. It is expected that Japan will remain a preferred destination for travellers during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
"Market volatility and change in the post-pandemic era is far more significant than ever before. The challenges we face in rebuilding our operations are more complex, including recruiting and training cabin crew, allocating available fleets and competing globally for maintenance resources. Different opening and pandemic preparedness policies around the world, coupled with staff shortages at various airports, have slowed the pace of return to normal operations to some extent. As a result, our market strategy has to be more cautious. However, we remain optimistic about the Japanese market and will continue to explore other potential markets."
Continued Fleet Expansion to Increase Passenger Capacity
Hong Kong Airlines has taken delivery of a number of Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft this year, bringing its total fleet to 21 aircraft by the end of the year. These new aircraft will not only enable flight resumptions, increase seat capacity and provide a more comfortable flying experience but will also meet future operational needs. The company plans to expand its current fleet by 30% by the end of 2024, thereby doubling the overall passenger traffic. It is actively introducing a new aircraft model to further improve operational efficiency, with the first delivery expected as early as the first quarter of next year.
Expanding 'Multi-modal Transport' Services in the Greater Bay Area Supports the Belt and Road Initiative
Hong Kong Airlines continues to review its investment in the Mainland China market and enhance its existing flight network strategy to build air bridges for inter-regional travel and trade. It currently operates from two major airports of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hainan Island, to promote the development of an air passenger and cargo trade hub.
"With the completion and commissioning of a number of infrastructure projects and the third runway system at the Hong Kong International Airport, the airport's throughput will be greatly enhanced, providing opportunities for us to optimise our network coverage and expand our service offerings. We will effectively leverage the construction of Hong Kong's 'Airport City' and the surrounding regional aviation network to promote various commercial cooperation models and deepen 'multi-modal transport' with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, including enabling mainland and international passengers to use the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge for 'air-land-air' travel, seamless commuting to and from Hong Kong and striving to provide a more convenient travel experience for passengers."
Hong Kong Airlines has also pledged to continue playing a crucial role in promoting exchanges between Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and mainland cities, such as launching services to the northwest region of China to strengthen connections with the Belt and Road markets, facilitating links with international business travel and consolidating Hong Kong's position as an international aviation hub.
Actively Recruiting Talent Globally Expected Workforce Growth of 20%
With the rapid resumption of flights to a number of destinations, Hong Kong Airlines has also been actively “competing for talents", including inviting former employees to return to their positions and recruiting locally and globally. Some of the posts have already reached the annual recruitment target by mid-year, and the total number of employees is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
At present, the main vacancies remain centred on cabin crew and ground staff. For the first time this year, the company held large-scale recruitment days in major cities in mainland China and Japan. With the recovery and further growth of the business, it is expected that an additional 20% of staff will be required next year. The company will hold cabin crew recruitment days in various parts of the world, including the Greater Bay Area, Thailand, and South Korea, to welcome suitable talents.
17th Anniversary Discount
To celebrate its 17th anniversary, Hong Kong Airlines is launching an eight-day limited-time flight ticket discount on its official website between 27 November and 4 December, offering over 50,000 one-way “Economic Basic Fare” tickets from as low as HK$210 to 14 destinations in China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, including the latest routes to Kumamoto and Yonago, valid until June 2024.