Hong Kong Airlines is one of the few carriers based in HKG airport. The airline has lived in the shadows of their bigger competitors Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, as well as their neighbors in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The airline has some very aggressive expansion plans, and they seem to have their eyes set on the US West Coast. That is why Hong Kong Airlines’ LAX flights seem very likely. They have announced their intent to fly this route, pending government approval.
Hong Kong Airlines today has a fleet of Airbus aircraft, with a majority of its fleet being A330s. These have started their first trans-Pacific flight to Vancouver in the last month. The airline has A350s on order, and they plan to use these for their flights to LAX. A350s would be an improvement to their current A330s, but there is still no clear cut picture of what the service will look like. The airline would compete directly with Cathay Pacific and American on this route. The airline has been trying to expand via new flights, as well as new codeshares.
On July 5th, HKA started codesharing with Virgin Australia, and they have codeshares with a variety of carriers such as Etihad, Bangkok Airways, EVA Air and Jet Airways, among many others.
Hong Kong Airlines is a part of the larger HNA Group. This airline holding company is the fourth largest Chinese carrier group. The flagship carrier of the group is Hainan Airlines, which has made news in the US with their own aggressive expansion. Hainan is known for their high quality service, being the only Skytrax 5 Star Airline in China.
What to expect
Honestly, there aren’t many review of Hong Kong Airlines out there, the one I found from the Runway Girl Network shows them to have two kinds of business class seats. They have staggered Solstys Seats, similar to the ones in Etihad’s old business class and AirBerlin. The airline will change the seats to more comfortable reverse herringbone seats on their A350s, in order to compete with Cathay and American. I have seen them offer very reasonable prices for intra-Asia flights. I expect these pricing strategies to continue, in order to undercut Cathay.
I have mixed feelings for this development. I am a big fan of competition, as it drives prices lower. However, the market to HKG from LAX is very crowded. Cathay and American have a total of 5 flights between them. The airlines also benefit from extensive networks from both cities, as being codeshare partners they can connect their customers to further destinations. I believe the LAX flight to be a prestige route, more for the sake of having it. I do not foresee the airline making a profit out of this flight, but I love being proven wrong.
What do you think? Have you ever flown on Hong Kong Airlines? What was your experience? Let us know!
All images from Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted.