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Hong Kong Express (香港快運航空)

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Hong Kong Express Airways Launches Shanghai Service with Inaugural Flight
Press Release
11 Jun 2008

Hong Kong Express Airways further strengthened its efforts to become Hong Kong’s carrier of choice today with the launch of its new Hong Kong – Shanghai route that offers daily flights.

In an intimate ceremony at Hong Kong International Airport, the departure of the Shanghai route’s inaugural flight marked a significant boost for the airline, which has already this year successfully launched five new routes to Japan; and will next week launch a daily service to Beijing, just in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. The airline’s success is underscored by its commitment to providing a quality inflight experience to ensure a comfortable and safe journey.

Ronnie Choi, President of Hong Kong Express Airways said, “We are very proud to launch this trunk route of China as it heralds a milestone in our company’s history.

In the past few months, we have launched many new routes which will greatly expand our customer base, as well as bring in some very experienced aviation professionals to strengthen the management team. In the coming months, we will also strengthen our presence in the market and introduce direct services to more new destinations in Asia.

Last year we carried over one million passengers in and out of Hong Kong International Airport, and we expect that number to increase exponentially with our new services, and those yet to come.”

Mr Choi gave special thanks to the Assistant Director-General, Air Services of the Civil Aviation Department, Stephen Kwok, and the Airport Management Director, Howard Eng, for their support of the airline.

Mr Choi, the Hong Kong Express Airways management team and staff toasted the airline’s success together with the guests.

By the fourth quarter of this year Hong Kong Express will have the air rights to operate three flights daily to both Shanghai and Beijing.
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Hong Kong Express Airways Increases Flights Throughout Asia
Press Release
01 Aug 2008

Hong Kong Express Airways continues to strengthen its presence and position in Asia, as the carrier of choice in Hong Kong, with increased services and new routes.

With a firm understanding of market needs and demands, Hong Kong Express Airways recently launched daily services to Shanghai and Beijing, as well as a four-flights-a-week service to Seoul. The carrier is planning new routes to Osaka, Phuket, Denpasar and Manila in September, as well as additional routes to various cities in Japan in October.

Raymond Ng, Director, Commercial, Hong Kong Express Airways said, “We are delighted to strengthen and diversify our network, and provide passengers with increased flexibility to travel throughout the region.”

Okinawa has emerged as a hot-spot for Hong Kong travellers, especially beach lovers and divers. From 1 August 2008, Hong Kong Express Airways’ Hong Kong to Okinawa service will be offered daily to meet the growing demand.

“At the same time, we have rescheduled some of our less-travelled routes and reduced capacity on others to minimize the impact of rising fuel prices. This will include the temporary suspension of the Hiroshima and Okayama services beginning 1 September, 2008.” said Mr Ng.
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Being sister airlines, is HNA Group planning to merge these airlines? Or the relationship will be like SIA/Silkair or Cathay/Dragonair when they procure long-haul aircraft?
Although Hainan Airlines has a shareholding relationship, the airlines will not merge with the mainland parent. This was discussed heavily back when the stake was sold, as these carriers must remain Hong Kong-based to enjoy the air services agreements that the Hong Kong government has signed. In the interim, Hong Kong Airlines continues to operate separately with Hong Kong Express. Their strategy is on short and medium-haul flights, and are popular with the local travel agencies for package tours / charters.
Two foreign airlines to serve Bali
4 September 2008
The Jakarta Post

Two more foreign airlines have been scheduled to provide direct flights to Bali in the near future said Heru Legowo, general manager for airport operations at Ngurah Rai international Airport on Wednesday.

"The two airlines are Hong Kong Express based in Hong Kong and Virgin Blue in Australia," Heru said, speaking for the state-owned firm PT Angkasa Pura I, which manages the airport.

He said the two airlines would start offering direct flights to Bali later this month: Hong Kong Express to begin on Sept. 11 with four flights from Hong Kong a week and Virgin Blue would fly in 11 times a week from Cairns.

"The start date for Virgin Blue flights has not been set yet, but they have been scheduled to start within the month," he said.

The two airlines will raise the number of foreign airlines serving Bali directly to 26.

Heru expected more foreign airlines will help increase the number of foreign tourists visiting the resort island, especially from Hong Kong and Australia.

As Hong Kong Express also flies to South Korea and Taiwan, "we hope the new services will significantly raise the number of visitors to Bali", he said.

Aloysius Purwa, chair of the Bali chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA), hailed the planned services by the two foreign airlines.

The rising number of foreign tourists visiting Bali reflects rising international interest in the island, Purwa said.

"This will ensure Bali remains one of the favorite tourism destinations in the world," he said.

"Bali needs still more foreign airlines to enable foreign tourists to go there."

Purwa added the number of foreign airlines serving direct flights to Bali is still too small to attract significantly more visitors.

Based on figures from the Denpasar office of the Central Statistics Agency, the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali from January to July 2008 reached about 1.11 million, an increase of 21.64 percent compared to 912,270 tourists during the corresponding period last year.
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By twwong from HKADB :

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HK Express air-cargo bid flies into headwind
3 July 2009
South China Morning Post

Plans by Hong Kong Express Airways to launch a cargo service in September are being blocked by one of its shareholders.

Andrew Tse (below), who owns 14.7 per cent of the small city airline that is controlled by the mainland's HNA Group, filed an objection with the Air Transport Licensing Authority after Hong Kong Express applied for a cargo licence.

"Until the airline hands in a comprehensive feasibility study on the cargo service, I will continue to put in an injunction whenever it reapplies for a licence," said Mr Tse, who asked that any licence hearing involving the carrier be made public.

The airline withdrew the application but had since submitted another one, an Alta spokesman confirmed.

Mr Tse, a nephew of Stanley Ho Hung-sun, who owns about 40 per cent of Hong Kong Express, said management promised the board in a meeting in April it would present a detailed business plan for the cargo service.

The airline, which offers passenger services to mainland and Asian cities, planned to operate three weekly cargo flights from Hong Kong to Luxembourg via Abu Dhabi from September 18, president Yang Jianhong said. He said the air-cargo business was showing "green shoots" and the firm wanted to get in early to seize on low aircraft leasing fees.

"We would like to reap the rewards of any upswing in the cargo market by entering the market at a low point," Mr Yang said.

Hong Kong Express has been granted a three-month licence by the Civil Aviation Department to lease a Boeing 747-400 freighter from Taiwan's China Airlines. But before it becomes permanent, the airline has to be given a cargo licence by the Air Transport Licensing Authority.

Mr Yang said the airline had a strong case for launching a cargo business as he expected the sector to start recovering in the fourth quarter.
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HK, Myanmar discuss resumption of direct flights

YANGON, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Express airline is coordinating with the Myanmar authorities for relaunching Hong Kong-Yangon direct flight, local media reported Saturday.

A delegation of the Hong Kong Express is seeking international ticket sale agent in Myanmar for the move, said the Voice.

Although the Hong Kong Express airline flights to South Korea and Japan can bring passengers to Myanmar, it hardly obtains full passengers in its return flight from Yangon to Hong Kong, the sale agent was quoted as saying.

The Hong Kong Express once flew the Hong Kong-Yangon route twice a week with a 164-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft starting November 2007 but it was halted after about four months.

Still earlier, the Myanmar Airways International (MAI), a then joint venture between the state-run Myanmar Airways and the Region Air of Singapore, flew the Yangon-Hong Kong direct flight but was suspended afterwards for market reason.

For a time of absence of Yangon-Hong Kong direct flight, passengers traveling between the two destinations had to transit through Bangkok or Guangzhou.
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Stanley Ho's sister-in-law sues airline for HK$ 9.8 million
( Daily Times/South China Morning Post)

Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho's sister-in-law filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong's high court against an airline she and Ho invested in, for a debt of HK$9.8 million, according to South China Morning Post report.

The report quoted a writ filed with the High Court that, Chan Ung Iok, sister of Ho's third wife, Ina Chan Un Chan, claims that Hong Kong Express Airways, an airline Ho partly owns, failed to repay the debt since last year despite her repeated requests.

The court document says the sum was part of a HK$120 million loan by Ho as a shareholder to the airline in July 2006. She says Ho had executed a deed to assign HK$9.8 million of that amount to her, and that the airline was informed.

According to the writ, Chan was a director of the airline from 1998 to 2006 and was a shareholder from 2001 to 2006. The writs document does not specify why Ho had assigned the HK$9.8 million loan to Chan.

An airline spokeswoman was quoted by the paper as saying that the debt Chan referred to was a matter between several former shareholders. She said the sum was not substantial, adding there was room to resolve the legal dispute quickly.
Flights of infancy
29 July 2013
South China Morning Post

The failure of AirAsia Japan last month highlights just how hard it can be for a budget airline to escape the influence of a parent that is a full-service carrier - in this case, its joint-venture partner, All Nippon Airways.

Hong Kong Express Airways, which announced plans to transform itself into a low-cost carrier (LCC) last month, needs to overcome the same challenge as it seeks to bid adieu to its full-service history.

"Many LCC start-ups fail because they don't have people who know LCCs well," Hong Kong Express deputy chief executive Andrew Cowen said, likening the problem to "building a house without an architect".

"At the beginning of the journey, we split Hong Kong Express from Hong Kong Airlines by separating the management team and the sales and marketing department."

Hong Kong Express and Hong Kong Airlines had previously been operated by the same management team for several years because they are both owned by Hainan-based HNA, the mainland's fourth-largest airline conglomerate.

Cowen's LCC background dates to 1999 when he helped set up no-frills airline Go for British Airways. He was then involved in a management buyout of Go and was lucky enough to exit with a profit when EasyJet came in a year later and acquired Go at a price nearly four times higher.

He has been involved in more than five budget airline start-ups since then, including GoAir in Mumbai (which is independent of Go in Britain), Peach Aviation in Osaka and Phil Air in the Philippines.

Hong Kong Express has four executives with an extensive LCC background on its management team, with a fifth due to arrive soon. All have been sourced from Mango Aviation Partners, a consultancy firm.

Cowen said the biggest hurdle in transforming an existing airline into an LCC was its size. "The smaller the current airline, the fewer problems there would be during the change," he said.

Hong Kong Express got rid of all its Boeing 737s and was left with just two aircraft at the beginning of the process.

"In a sense, we have pared back Hong Kong Express to almost the bare bones," Cowen said. "Just like buying a house and leaving the infrastructure there and rebuilding it."

That was how AirAsia started when Tony Fernandes bought the then ailing airline from a Malaysian government-owned company, stripped it back and then started all over again in 2001 with just two aircraft. It now operates 124.

Hong Kong is served by a dozen budget airlines offering flights to 22 destinations, lagging Singapore, which offers 62 destinations. Budget carriers account for just 5 per cent of the seat capacity offered in Hong Kong, compared with 33 per cent in Singapore and 25 per cent in Asia overall.

Airfares to the same destination are also higher from Hong Kong than from Singapore, even given the extra distances sometimes involved. For example, the lowest fare from Hong Kong to Bangkok is HK$2,218 while from Singapore it is HK$1,526. The lowest airfare from Hong Kong to Mumbai is HK$6,535, compared with Singapore's HK$3,385.

"There is a huge opportunity in the LCC market in Hong Kong, yet a growing challenge from rivals," Cowen said. "They will increase their services to Hong Kong to tap the market."

He said shortening turnaround times was the key to tapping that market, allowing aircraft to make more flights a day and lowering the cost per seat.

The turnaround time was 30 minutes by Asia's industry standard, compared with the 25 minutes achieved by European budget airline Ryanair. But it took Hong Kong Express 40 to 45 minutes to turn around an aircraft, far behind the industry average.

"We can't achieve the goal overnight but we can take it in stages, five minutes at a time," Cowen said. "We are looking at every aspect of the process and redesigning procedures and on the way to achieving the goal."

He said there was no secret to running a budget carrier correctly, but certain rules had to be followed to get the right outcome.

Rule No1 was that the cabin crew had to do the cleaning themselves instead of bringing in cleaners for every turnaround. Rule No2 was that no food and beverages would be loaded at overseas destinations, with supplies for both legs loaded in Hong Kong.

Cowen said he wanted Hong Kong Express to have a Hong Kong personality because the budget market was very competitive and it was a challenge for newcomers to establish a distinct image.

"It's a major crossroads," Cowen said. "While it has a very strong Hong Kong Chinese culture, it's very modern, a melting pot of many influences - a rich and unique flavour to make it different from Singapore or Tokyo.

"Instead of accepting a Malaysian personality in AirAsia or an Australian personality in Jetstar, we will have a genuine Hong Kong personality LCC."
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Budget carrier takes first shot in fare price war
The Standard
Friday, September 13, 2013

Hongkongers may now fly to seven destinations in Asia on budget airline Hong Kong Express, paying one-third less than fares charged by full-service carriers, the airline claimed yesterday.

Hong Kong Express said it would fly to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Taichung in Taiwan, as well as Kunming in the mainland.

A one-way airfare to Tokyo will costs HK$758, while that to Kota Kinabalu will be priced at just HK$228 - the carrier's cheapest offering. Both fares exclude taxes and other charges.

However cheap prices will mean less than ideal arrival times, with most of the flights landing between late afternoon and midnight. For example, flights to the Japanese capital will arrive at 1.30am.

Competition among budget carriers in the region is expected to heat up with the entry of new players.

Jetstar Hong Kong Airways, which is waiting for a government license, has pledged to offer fares 50 percent lower than full-service carriers.

It aims to launch several three- to five-hour flights to Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and the mainland, competing directly with Hong Kong Express.

Hong Kong Express deputy chief executive Andrew Cowen said competition will be keen between the airline and Jetstar Hong Kong.

Earlier, Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Express and its sister company Hong Kong Airlines filed formal objections with the government after it gazetted Jetstar Hong Kong's application.

Jetstar Hong Kong is a joint venture between Shun Tak Holdings (0242), Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines (0670).

The airline has acquired 18 A320s and said it could start flying as soon as the license is granted.
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Budget airline Hong Kong Express aims for 10pc market share
13 September 2013
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Express Airways says it hopes to get 10 per cent of the city's market for passenger flights by offering cheap fares when it transforms itself into a budget airline next month.

A one-way ticket to Kunming, Yunnan province, excluding taxes and fuel surcharges will be HK$298 - less than half that offered by CX fanfare, a weekly fare promotion of Cathay Pacific Airways.

The HK Express fare to Phuket, Thailand, will be HK$368 - a third of the fare of low-cost rival Jetstar Hong Kong, which awaits approval to become the city's second budget carrier.

Flights to Tokyo's Haneda airport, the priciest among the airline's seven destinations announced yesterday, will be HK$758, on par with Osaka-based low-cost carrier Peach Aviation.

The airline's deputy chief executive, Andrew Cowen, said that not all tickets would be that cheap. Cowen said HK Express would add six aircraft next year, and by 2018 its fleet would be 30-strong. He would not estimate the proportion of total sales that promotional tickets would account for, as airfares were adjusted according to demand, he said.

Zhang Qiang, the airline's president, said it could break even within two years and gain a market share of 10 per cent "in the near future".

Yang Jianhong, the executive chairman of Hong Kong Express, said in June the firm would lower costs per seat by 40 per cent by increasing the use of aircraft to 13 hours per day from nine and eliminating free catering and check-in baggage on board.

The 10 budget carriers that fly to Hong Kong have a combined market share of 5 per cent. Joining Cathay's and Dragonair's opposition to Jetstar Hong Kong's application for an operating licence, Cowen said too many airlines competing for too few flight slots and parking stands would result in congestion.

"It's like shopping in a mall. When there are just two people, it is great; when there are 1,000 people, it's not so good," he said.

Jetstar Hong Kong chairwoman Pansy Ho Chiu-king said on Wednesday the market was big enough for new players, with a new midfield terminal and a third runway on the way.

HK Express said it would announce more destinations in the coming weeks. Cowen said the airline would avoid competing head on with sister airline Hong Kong Airlines, which would focus on business destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai.

The budget airline is already flying to one mainland city. It will start flying to two cities in Thailand and one in each of Malaysia, Taiwan and the mainland on October 27. It will fly to Tokyo and Osaka from November.
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Hong Kong Express Airways to go into service as LCC at Kansai airport
Kyodo News

OSAKA, Oct. 7 -- Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express Airways will go into service at Kansai International Airport in western Japan from November, the airport's operator said Monday.

Hong Kong Express will begin a daily round-trip service linking the airport in Osaka Prefecture and Hong Kong from Nov. 21 as the fifth airline to operate flights on the route, according to New Kansai International Airport Co.

The airline had run flights to and from the airport as a full-service carrier until October 2010 before withdrawing from the service due to a decline in users that stemmed from the yen's appreciation and worsening Japan-China relations over a territorial dispute.

Hong Kong Express has decided to make a re-entry into the airport as an LCC in view of the increasing number of tourists to Japan owing to a recent weaker yen.

The airport operator also said Philippine LCC Cebu Pacific Air will increase its service between the airport and Manila from Dec. 19 to a daily round-trip service from the current three a week.
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Hong Kong Express Airways plans 12 new destinations by year-end
24 January 2014
Manila Bulletin

Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd., backed by China's HNA Group, plans to expand its flight network to 20 Asian cities this year, as it seeks to lure more cost- conscious passengers from Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

The budget carrier will add 12 destinations, including Seoul in South Korea, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cowen said in Hong Kong today, declining to identify other cities. It will more than double its fleet to 11 Airbus Group A320s by the end of 2014 from five aircraft now, he said.

Hong Kong Express will add to the challenges Cathay Pacific faces in maintaining its 50 percent share of passengers flying out of China's financial hub. Hong Kong Express has flown almost 200,000 passengers since converting into a budget airline from a regional carrier in October.

“We've been able to get good savings as we transform to a low-cost model,” Cowen said. “We're still on track to break even and be a little more profitable for this year.”

Hong Kong Express will offer daily flights to Seoul's Incheon airport by the end of March, Cowen said. It already flies to eight cities including Osaka, Kunming and Phuket.

Jetstar Hong Kong Airways Ltd., a joint venture by Qantas Airways Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp. and Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., is still waiting for an operating license.

The Hong Kong government has said it won't process applications from new airlines until it completes a review of criteria for designating local carriers.

“The delay has been great for Hong Kong Express” as they now have a very visible low-cost carrier brand, said Will Horton, an analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation. “But from a consumer perspective, it's better to have more competition.”
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Express to Seoul
The Standard
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

From March 30, HK Express will fly daily to Seoul Incheon International Airport. The one-way airfare is HK$620.

Said deputy chief executive Andrew Cowen: "In 2014, we are planning on adding more than 12 new destinations to our network, offering our guests the opportunity to travel to over 20 destinations across Asia.

"We'll also be expanding our current fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft from five to 11 by the end of the year with an aim to recruit over 250 cabin crew and other key operational staff."
Hong Kong Express Launches Flights to Busan
9 August 2014
Chosun Ilbo

Hong Kong-based low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express has launched a new route to Busan on Thursday. This brings the number of airlines operating flights between Busan and Hong Kong to four, including Korean Air, Air Busan and Dragonair.The Hong Kong airline flies the route five times a week and will operate one more flight a week from Aug. 20. Until Wednesday, one-way tickets cost only W87,900 (US$1=W1,038) for flights departing from Monday to March 28, 2015. Tickets can be purchased at The number of tourists traveling between Busan and Hong Kong grew to 75,000 last year from 38,000 in 2010, up by 20 percent each year over the last four years.
Hong Kong Express criticised after scrapping Kota Kinabalu flights
28 August 2014
South China Morning Post

Low-cost airline Hong Kong Express has come under fire over its handling of inquiries about its decision to scrap services to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia - a year after it started flying there.

The airline announced a week ago that flights 791 and 792, to and from the tourist destination in Borneo, would cease to operate from October 26. It said the decision was announced on the day it was made, and that about 500 passengers holding return tickets would get either a refund or a ticket to a different destination within three days of their original trip - subject to paying any difference in the fare.

However, one would-be passenger, Alexander Czarnobaj, said he had emailed the airline six times and received only a standard pro-forma reply from customer service.

He plans to visit Borneo with his two children in early November and had already booked accommodation and local tours, as well as the HK$2,800 air tickets.

"This trip is now going to cost some HK$5,000 more than my original plan," he said . "I don't think I should be the one who bears the burden of this expense as it's entirely due to incompetence and lack of goodwill by Hong Kong Express."

The airline started the thrice-weekly flights last October, but said "weak market demand" and a "challenging" business environment since April had led it to suspend the route to the capital of Sabah state. It said passengers were told of the available options by email and SMS.

"The decision to withdraw from Kota Kinabalu was not taken lightly and followed an in-depth and ongoing review of the market situation," the airline's spokeswoman said.

The city, gateway to Mount Kinabalu and several national parks, is also served by direct flights from Hong Kong by AirAsia, Dragonair and Malaysia Airlines.

The decision came amid controversy over an Airport Authority incentive scheme offering discounts on landing fees for carriers launching new routes.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that almost half of the new routes launched under the New Destination Incentive Arrangement scheme, since its introduction in 2004, were no longer running.

The airline's spokeswoman said it was offered no incentive by the Airport Authority for the Kota Kinabalu service.

The company relaunched as a low-cost carrier last year and flies to destinations on the mainland, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.
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