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HK Express Receives First A321neo, Enters Into Service with Bangkok Flights

HK Express First A321neo (Photo : Airbus)

HK Express, Hong Kong’s low-cost carrier, has welcomed its first of the 16 Airbus A321neo aircraft — the Airbus’s update to the type with refreshed engines — with the remaining to be delivered over the next two years. The new airline has wasted no time in launching its maiden flight to Bangkok on Sunday.

The new flight features in vibrant shades of purple and white, with the new “e” shaped icon is painted on the winglets, vertical stabilizer and the bottom of the fuselage.

The single-aisle flight arrived at the right time as Japan and South Korea have canceled travel restrictions for passengers from the city, allowing the airline to open up its route network reminiscent of where it sat in early 2020.

The aircraft can hold 236 passengers, carrying six more than the carrier’s current Airbus A321ceo aircraft. However, HK Express has mentioned that passengers won’t be left uncomfortable due to a slightly altered cabin design.

HK Express has emphasized the importance of sustainability. The A321 delivers a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 20% per seat, a key cost saving measure for the airline. In addition, the airline is going to introduce the “Passenger Carbon Offsetting Programme” in the second half of 2023.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the state-of-the-art A321neo aircraft to our fleet at this critical time as demand for international travel remains robust,” HK Express CEO Mandy Ng said in a statement.

HK Express is an all-Airbus operator currently owns a fleet of 27 Airbus A320 family aircraft.

“Airbus is proud to extend our relationship with the Cathay Pacific Group, and this new delivery represents a new milestone in our long relationship. The A321neo’s performance and efficiency will allow HK Express to expand its network, while reducing its carbon footprint.” Anand Stanley, President Airbus Asia-Pacific said.

Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels

After three years of the pandemic, the no-frills airline has seen the light at the end of the tunnel and the travel demand has seen a strong rebound. The airline will spread its wings again, expecting flight operations to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming weeks, with more than 400 flights per week. The airline is looking forward to the number of weekly flights could reach 500, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

During the pandemic, HK Express had experienced the severe turbulence and suspended its services for months. Earlier, HK Express reported a loss of nearly 1.36 billion Hong Kong dollars ($173 million) for 2022 as a result of the pandemic. Cathay Pacific acquired HK Express from China’s HNA Group in 2019.

Hong Kong aviation industry is expected to see stiff competition between groups this year. Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines have begun to consolidate their positions and relaunch routes both new and renewed as travel restrictions begin to fall. Meanwhile, Greater Bay Airlines, the newest airline in Hong Kong, has gotten into gear, acquiring 15 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft — officially rebranded as Boeing 737-9s — to expand its route map.

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