Hong Kong Airlines partners with Vancouver chefs ahead of new route launch

Ahead of the launch of its new Hong Kong-Vancouver route on June 30 this year, Hong Kong Airlines has partnered with two Vancouver chefs and a mixologist to develop a new in-flight menu for the upcoming route.

First among these are executive chef, Sam Leung and dim sum head chef, Garley Leung from Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, who will be behind the route’s business class meals. Passengers flying the Vancouver-Hong Kong route will have the choice of a baked mince pork pie or an in-flight version of hand-shredded smoked chicken – both signature dishes at the restaurant.

“Vancouver is world-renowned for having some of the best Cantonese food outside of Hong Kong, and Dynasty’s long tradition of combining the freshest of Canadian ingredients with authentic Chinese cooking techniques truly showcases the best of East and West,” said the airline’s general manager of in-flight services, Christopher Birt.

“We are delighted to have them on board as our partner to create a menu that will not only be familiar to our Canadian customers but one that will also provide a great introduction to the rich diversity of Vancouver’s gastronomic offerings to our Hong Kong and worldwide customers.”

Meanwhile, mixologist David Wolowidnyk of the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s new Botanist restaurant has created a signature cocktail called the Bauhinia that can be enjoyed in business class. The cocktail is made using Remy Martin XO cognac, champagne, grape juice, tea and lemon. Travellers on the route’s inaugural flight will be able to have these cocktails prepared by Wolowidnyk himself, who will be tending the aircraft’s Skybar on the maiden voyage.

Economy class passengers won’t have access to these meal options and cocktail, however they will be offered gourmet popcorn from UK company Joe & Seph’s.

Hong Kong Airlines’ new route will be operated by its A330-200, which the airline configures with two classes.

The carrier is also expected to take delivery of its first A350 this August, which will also feature its new business class seat product

hkairlines.com

Hong Kong Airlines and Virgin Australia enter partnership

The next step of Virgin Australia’s previously proposed alliance agreement with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express has come into effect, with the Australian carrier now forming a codeshare agreement with Hong Kong Airlines. The agreement comes ahead of Virgin Australia’s planned Melbourne-Hong Kong flights, which are due to take off next month.

Under the codeshare, Virgin Australia will place its code on Hong Kong Airlines’ five weekly return services between Hong Kong and the Gold Coast and Cairns, with onward travel to mainland China available for Virgin Australia travellers.

Hong Kong Airlines’ code, meanwhile, will be placed on 11 of Virgin Australia’s services, including its upcoming July 5 VA87/HX3001 Melbourne-Hong Kong route, as well as certain domestic and trans-Tasman routes.

These include:

  • Between Gold Coast and Auckland
  • Between Melbourne and Christchurch, Auckland
  • Between Melbourne and Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Sydney, Gold Coast, Darwin
  • Between Sydney and Gold Coast, Cairns
  • Between Brisbane and Cairns
  • Between Gold Coast and Adelaide

Sales for the codeshare flights will begin in late June.

As it currently stands, members of both airlines frequent flyer programmes – Fortune Wings Club (Hong Kong Airlines) and Velocity Frequent Flyer (Virgin Australia) will be able to accrue miles and earn status on codeshared flights starting July 5. In the future, additional benefits including lounge access, priority check in, priority boarding and additional baggage allowances are expected to be introduced later this year.

“The alliance with Virgin Australia is one of the major steps of Hong Kong Airlines’

globalisation strategy in turning ourselves from a regional airline to an international carrier,” said Hong Kong Airlines co-chairman, Zhang Kui. “Following our launch of Gold Coast and Cairns routes in Australia, Auckland in New Zealand and Vancouver in Canada, we strive to expand our network coverage to a wider region and strengthen our overall competitive edge in the Oceania and the North America region, for the benefits of our customers who are looking for more travel options and seamless connectivity.”

hkairlines.com; virginaustralia.com

Hong Kong Airlines and Bangkok Airways codesharing to Koh Samui

Holidaymakers looking to head to Koh Samui in Thailand with Hong Kong Airlines can now make use of two Bangkok Airways flights to the island, either by flying non-stop or via Bangkok.

The codeshare allows Hong Kong Airlines passengers to travel either non-stop from Hong Kong on board Bangkok Airways’ flight, or to connect with the Thai carrier’s domestic Bangkok-Koh Samui services following a connection from one of Hong Kong Airlines’ 37 weekly flights to the Thai capital.

Speaking about the codeshare, Bangkok Airways president, Puttipong Prasartthong-Osoth said: “[The codeshare] allows us to give passengers a convenient and seamless access to and from Samui, either on our non-stop twice daily service from Hong Kong to Samui or on multiple daily domestic flights between Bangkok and Samui.

“Moreover, Hong Kong Airlines’ passengers travelling on Bangkok Airways will enjoy the boutique airline’s unparalleled services such as lounge access and in-flight meal.”

Tickets for the codeshare flights are now available for travel effective immediately.

hongkongairlines.com; bangkokair.com

Hong Kong Airlines resumes Ho Chi Minh City service

Hong Kong Airlines Club Bahinia VIP Lounge

Hong Kong Airlines is set to revive its direct service to Ho Chi Minh City starting July 20, 2017.

The resumed HX538/HX539 service will be operated by an Airbus A320 and will fly five times weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Hong Kong, and on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Ho Chi Minh City.

According to chief commercial officer Li Dianchun, “Ho Chi Minh City has always been one of the most bustling cities in Asia with great cultural charm, and with our long-established and successful development in Hanoi, we see great potential in Vietnam.

“The resumption of [our] Ho Chi Minh City route will not only consolidate our strategic position in Asia, it will also help us tap into the global market, connect passengers to our other long-haul routes like Gold Coast, Auckland and Vancouver, which will inaugurate this June.”

Hong Kong Airlines first launched its direct services to Ho Chi Minh City in March 2014 – using a newly received A320 that was its first aircraft to feature sharklets.

Details of the service are as follows (all times local):

Flight NoFromToDepartsArrivesDays
HX538Hong KongHo Chi Minh City23050050+1Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat
HX539Ho Chi Minh CityHong Kong04000830Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun

hongkongairlines.com

Six new amenity kits for premium travellers

American Airlines amenity kits

QANTAS

INTRODUCED Beginning May 1, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS 16 Australian creatives 

INFO Announced last week, Qantas’ new range of international business class amenity kits have been developed in collaboration with 16 Australian artists, photographers and what it calls “digital influencers”. Each of the kits will feature artwork from one of the collaborators (eight types each for men and for women), with two designs launching every few months.

qantas.com

JAPAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED March 28, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS Porsche Design

INFO Japan Airlines’ new international first class amenity kits are available in two colours – red for flights from Japan and grey for flights to Japan. The kits themselves feature the essentials, including a toothbrush kit, mouthwash, ear plugs, eye mask, brush, moisture mask, and pocket tissue. However in addition to these, hand and body cream, facial spray and lip balm all designed by German lifestyle brand Porsche Design are also included. And while not technically part of the new amenity kits, a separate Porsche Design top and trousers are also offered in their own black case.

jal.com

AIR FRANCE

INTRODUCED February 20, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clarins and Clarita

INFO Available until August, Air France’s latest amenity kits for its premier customers come in two varieties. The business class bags come in four colours – blue, grey, orange and turquoise – and include Clarins products, such as moisturiser. Meanwhile the first class offering is a rectangular box coming in light blue or orange and featuring Carita’s Lagoon skincare products.

Meanwhile back in January, Air France also unveiled new black and yellow/red amenity kits for its premium economy passengers onboard its long-haul flights.

airfrance.com

HONG KONG AIRLINES

INTRODUCED February 16, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clip, Ricebowl Republic, L’Occitane

INFO Another carrier that has partnered together with local creatives to develop their amenity kits, Hong Kong Airlines began offering four different bags each bearing unique designs depicting notable Hong Kong sights and landmarks. These include the Hong Kong skyline, Star Ferry, Hong Kong Tramways and a rickshaw.

In-flight experience specialists clip and local design house Ricebowl Republic developed these bags together with Hong Kong Airlines. Meanwhile, French skincare brand L’Occitane has lent its shea butter ultra-rich lip balm and hand cream to the ensemble.

hongkongairlines.com

AMERICAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED January 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long haul and transcontinental flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

COLLABORATORS Cole Haan, 3Lab, CO Bigelow, and Clark’s Botanicals

INFO This is the second time American Airlines has collaborated with designer Cole Haan to develop its amenity kits. Arguably the most sleek and professional looking kits on this list, they also feature products from 3Lab, CO Bigelow and Clark’s Botanicals products, much like its previous iteration.

The kits are available in grey, burgundy, navy and black, with the first class version able to be reused as a tablet holder. First class travellers also now get a new set of grey and navy pyjamas.

aa.com

QATAR AIRWAYS

INTRODUCED December 2016 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Brics and Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio

INFO Qatar Airways has introduced a medley of different amenity kits since December last year, including separate bags for economy class passengers, short- and medium-haul passengers, and first and business class passengers. Of these, the latter are undoubtedly the most impressive, developed in collaboration with fashion house Brics and Italian skincare brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.

The first class offerings follow Brics’ Bellagio series of bags with two leather strips across them, while the business class kits follow its Sintesis line of trolley bags. Four colours are available in total, with black and grey offered for men and burgundy and white for women. Inside are lip balm, facial mist, and anti-ageing moisturiser.

qatarairways.com

Hong Kong Airlines and Asiana begin codesharing

Asiana Airlines A350-900

South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines have entered into a codeshare agreement effective immediately, which will see the two carriers place their codes on each other’s respective flights between Hong Kong and Seoul.

The agreement will see travellers with either airline now able to choose from a total of five daily flights between the two cities. Four of these are operated by Asiana Airlines, while Hong Kong Airlines operates one daily flight between Hong Kong and Seoul.

“We launched the daily flight service from Hong Kong to Seoul last December, which was our first route to Korea,” said Hong Kong Airlines COO, Li Dianchun. “From then we have been actively exploring ways to improve schedule options on this route. By connecting the hubs of the two airlines, the codeshare does not only benefit customers travelling between Hong Kong and Seoul, it also allows customers to seamlessly transfer when they travel on an itinerary to or from other destinations that includes flights operated by both carriers.”

In March, Asiana Airlines announced it will be deploying its first new Airbus A350-900 on its OZ721/722 (HX1551/1552) flights between Seoul and Hong Kong from May 9 to June 14. Hong Kong Airlines, meanwhile, is set to receive its first A350-900 in August this year.

The new codeshare brings Asiana’s total number of codeshare agreements to 277 routes in 25 countries with 30 airlines. (For more information on Asiana Airlines’ codeshare routes, see Business Traveller Asia-Pacific’s “Asiana Airlines: What you need to know”.)

Details of the new Seoul Incheon (ICN)-Hong Kong (HKG) codeshare flights are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.Operating carrierFromToDepartsArrivesDays
OZ721/HX1551Asiana AirlinesICNHKG09001140Daily
OZ723/HX155310001240
OZ745/HX156519502230
OZ749/HX156920102250
HX623/OZ9291Hong Kong Airlines23350205+1Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
HX628/OZ929316351910Tue, Thu, Sat
Flight No.Operating carrierFromToDepartsArrivesDays
OZ722/HX1552Asiana AirlinesHKGICN13101740Daily
OZ724/HX155413401820
OZ746/HX156600300510
OZ750/HX167000500530
HX622/OZ9292Hong Kong Airlines17352235Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
HX629/OZ929411101535Tue, Thu, Sat

hongkongairlines.com; flyasiana.com

Hong Kong Airlines and Jet Airways begin codeshare

Hong Kong Airlines and Jet Airways Ink Codeshare Agreement

Hong Kong Airlines and Mumbai-based carrier Jet Airways will begin codesharing on flights between Hong Kong and India and to destinations in Asia, enabling Hong Kong Airlines to provide a daily service connecting Hong Kong with Mumbai and Delhi.

The partnership will see Hong Kong Airlines place its HX code on Jet Airways flights between Hong Kong and Mumbai and Delhi. Meanwhile Jet Airways will place its 9W code on Hong Kong Airlines’ flights between Hong Kong and Okinawa, Denpasar, Hanoi, Bangkok and its recently launched Auckland service. Codeshare flights will begin being open for sale starting February 27 this year for travel on the same day.

Members of Jet Airways’ frequent flyer programme, Jet Privilege will also be able to earn miles when flying on these routes, which will become available for redemption and will also count towards earning tier status within Jet Privilege.

“From our observations, there has been great potential in the India market as increasing travellers from India tend to transit via Hong Kong to Japan, South East Asia and even farther to Auckland,” said Li Dianchun, CCO of Hong Kong Airlines.

“By connecting Hong Kong with Mumbai and Delhi, the new agreement enables passengers from these key cities to travel seamlessly to a bunch of popular destinations in Hong Kong Airlines’ network. On the other hand, our passengers can also access India easily for either business or leisure travel purposes.”

Jayaraj Shanmugam, CCO of Jet Airways, echoed the sentiment, noting that travel between India and the destinations that will form the codeshare has been on the up. “Both business and leisure travel between India and the destinations covered by this arrangement have been growing at a remarkable CAGR of 12 per cent over the past five years, on the back of sustained economic activity. We believe this partnership will further strengthen the choice available for our guests, especially to our first time codeshare destinations such as Okinawa in Japan and Auckland in New Zealand.”

Hong Kong Airlines is also due to begin operating services to Vancouver this year starting in June, along with rolling out its new business class seat product on its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, the first of which it is due to receive in August.

hongkongairlines.com; jetairways.com

Virgin Australia eyes flights to Hong Kong

Hong Kong skyline

Virgin Australia will begin flying direct to Hong Kong starting mid-2017, following the announcement of a proposed alliance agreement with HNA Aviation – which operates the mainland Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines – Hong Kong Airlines and low-cost carrier HK Express. The airlines today submitted an application for authorisation to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to gain approval for the alliance.

The agreement will also see the introduction of codeshare agreements on flights between Hong Kong and Australia, as well as mainland China and Australia. Virgin Australia also announced it plans to begin operating direct flights from Australia to mainland China “in further stages of the agreement”.

Currently, all Virgin Australia flights to Hong Kong and mainland China travel via Singapore and are operated by its flag carrier, Singapore Airlines.

Virgin’s new direct Hong Kong flights will be operated by Airbus A330 aircraft, which are currently equipped with its “The Business” business class offering. Travellers flying to Hong Kong will then be able to connect with Hong Kong Airlines’ mainland China flights.

Meanwhile, customers travelling with Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will be able to connect to Virgin Australia’s domestic and trans-Tasman flights.

“This new alliance will be a game changer for travel between Australia and China, providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers,” said Virgin Australia group CEO, John Borghetti. “The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market.

“HNA Aviation fly nearly 100 million passengers each year and we look forward to working collaboratively with them to drive inbound visitation to Australia, resulting in significant benefits for the Australian tourism industry and broader economy.”

In addition to new routes and codeshares, the alliance will see members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer and Hong Kong Airlines’ Fortune Wings Club loyalty programmes able to accrue miles on alliance routes, along with receiving reciprocal access to tier benefits. These include lounge access, priority check in and boarding, and additional baggage allowance.

The past few months have seen a slew of new routes connecting Hong Kong and mainland China with destinations in Australasia, including Hainan Airlines’ new Shenzhen-Auckland service, Hong Kong Airlines’ flights to Auckland and the planning of a new Tianjin Airlines Chongqing-Melbourne route.

China Eastern also recently launched flights between Sydney and Wuhan, and Shanghai and Brisbane, while Qantas’ Beijing-Sydney route took off in late January.

virginaustralia.com; hkairlines.com; hkexpress.com; hainanairlines.com

Hong Kong Airlines rolls out new amenity kits

Hong Kong Airlines business class amenity kits 2017

Hong Kong Airlines business and economy class travellers will now be getting new amenity kits when they travel on long-haul flights.

Featuring emblematic symbols of Hong Kong, the business class kits have been designed in partnership with aviation-industry supplier Clip and local design firm Ricebowl Republic. The designs feature images of the Star Ferry, which goes between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula, rickshaws, the city’s quintessential trams and the Hong Kong skyline. Meanwhile the interiors of the bags each feature a different brightly coloured lining which, along with rickshaws and trams, also includes the city’s traditional junk boats.

The kits in business class include specially designed eye masks and socks, along with ear plugs, dental kits and a L’Occitane shea butter lip balm and hand cream. Economy class kits are noticeably more conventional, entailing a grey pouch carrying an eye mask, socks, ear plugs and dental kits.

In addition to a new business class amenity kit, Hong Kong Airlines is also due to begin rolling out its new business class seat product across its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft starting this August.

hkairlines.com

Hong Kong Airlines partners with Hoi King Heen on new menu

Hong Kong Airlines x Hoi King Heen steamed spotted garoupa fish ball with pumpkin sauce

Business class passengers aboard all Hong Kong Airlines’ flights flying out of Hong Kong between now and November will be served in-flight meals developed in collaboration the Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong’s Chinese restaurant, Hoi King Heen.

The collaboration sees the restaurant’s executive Chinese chef, Leung Fai-hung, craft a co-branded menu that includes variations on 15 of his signature dishes. These include braised beef brisket stuffed with pear, steamed spotted garoupa fish ball with pumpkin sauce, and deep-fried chicken with lemongrass, ginger and preserved mandarin orange peel.

According to the airline, regular testing and reviews by Leung, Hong Kong Airlines’ in-flight culinary team and caterer Gate Gourmet Hong Kong were carried out throughout the development process in order to get the in-flight meals as close as possible to those served at the restaurant itself.

“Dining on a plane is different to eating on the ground,” said Leung. “The humidity is low at high altitude, which affects the sensitivity of our taste buds, while the limited technology on a plane and the safety considerations of cooking restrict what can be prepared.

“I was particularly intrigued to create intense flavour pairings and special menus that combine a diverse selection of interesting dishes that can offset the impact, while enlivening the gustatory senses of passengers, so that they can enjoy specialties that are uniquely delicious in the skies.”

The partnership with Hoi King Heen is part of Hong Kong Airlines’ expansion of its business-class market, according to Christopher Birt, the carrier’s general manager, inflight services.

In August this year, Hong Kong Airlines is scheduled to receive delivery of its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, the first of 15 that will feature its all new 180-degree recline business class seat product. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific was able to sample the new seat offering at the airlines’ tenth anniversary event in late November last year.

The Hong Kong carrier is also set to introduce a new A330-200 daily service to Vancouver as part of its North America expansion starting June 30 this year.

hongkongairlines.com