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Hong Kong Airlines Reports Promising Traffic Figures

After three years of the pandemic, the city's second carrier has seen a significant increase in travel demand.

The carrier’s first A350-900XWB (Photo: Airbus)

A year after it lifted its COVID-era travel restrictions in September 2022, demand has sharply bounced back in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Airlines has gotten into gear and revealed increasingly promising traffic figures.

“We are very pleased to see that our flight operations have returned to pre-pandemic levels before year-end, surpassing our initial forecast of full recovery by mid-2024,” Jevey Zhang, Chairman of the airline said.

Earlier, IATA and the Hong Kong Government also expected the city’s aviation industry could fully recover by 2024.

Hong Kong Airlines currently operates to 25 destinations, ranging from Southeast Asia to the Maldives. Before the pandemic, the airline used to operate in North American cities, such as Los Angeles. By the end of 2023, the airline will own a fleet of 21 Airbus aircraft, after ramping up a number of A330s this year. Hong Kong Airlines could double its passenger traffic in 2024 by expanding 30% of its fleet. However, the airline did not reveal more details on the new aircraft.

In 2023, the airline scaled up its service to Japan, by operating nine routes to Japan. The travel hotspot gained more popularity as a result of the weak Japanese yen, letting travelers from Hong Kong go to Japan without breaking the bank. The load factor during peak season remained above 90%. In the meantime, Hong Kong Airlines remains optimistic about the Japanese market and says it will continue to explore other potential markets.

The airline plans to hire an additional 20% of its workforce to meet growing travel demand next year, targeting new employees from South Korea, Thailand, and China. Earlier this year, Hong Kong Airlines held a large-scale recruitment day in Japan and China.

After years of the pandemic, Hongkongers are desperate to return to the skies again. However, passengers in Hong Kong have followed others around the globe, paying through the nose for air tickets.

According to Cathay Pacific, in response to cost escalations, the airline will have to factor that into its ticket prices.

Travel Demand Bounces Back

Without a doubt, Hong Kong has been experiencing a travel boom since relaxing its restrictions. According to Hong Kong International Airport, Traffic to and from Southeast Asia, Japan, and China saw the largest increases in October.

In addition, Hong Kong Airlines is considering launching new services to the Northwest region of China to consolidate Hong Kong’s position as an international aviation hub.

Pete Ainsley

Author

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