Cathay Pacific Airways has agreed a deal to acquire budget airline HK Express, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post previously reported that a deal had been agreed, citing anonymous sources. Cathay Pacific would not comment yesterday when contacted by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

Now, in the stock exchange filing, Cathay says it will pay HK$2.25 billion ($287 million) in cash for HK Express. The deal, whose total size is HK$4.93 billion, is expected to be completed by December 31. Cathay pledged to repay HK$2.68 billion of debt held by HK Express in the form of promissory notes.

In the first week of March, Cathay Pacific said it was in “active discussions” to buy HK Express.

Also in March, Cathay announced that it had returned to profitability following two years in the red during which it reported its first ever back-to-back annual loss in 2017.

In February, we reviewed HK Express’ Airbus A320 economy class service between Hiroshima and Hong Kong.