Hong Kong Airlines has begun flying daily between Hong Kong and Manila following the launch of its inaugural flight last Friday.
As previously reported by Business Traveller, the new service is something of a mixed bag for corporate travellers. While the addition of daily flights will no doubt be welcome, these services won’t feature a business class cabin as flights are operated by a 174-seat all-economy Airbus A320 aircraft.
That being said, there is hope for travellers preferring to fly business class between Hong Kong and Manila.
Speaking to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Tang King Shing, vice chairman of Hong Kong Airlines, said the airline could look to upgauge to a different aircraft on the route in future.
“For the inaugural flight, we are initially using the A320 to kick off and to see what the response is in the market. As we pick up more and more business, we can consider moving it to the A330.”
Both the A330-200 and A330-300 in Hong Kong Airlines’ fleet feature a business class cabin as well as economy.
“But then it is not a simple question that if we have no more A320s, we will use the A330,” Tang added.“The reality is whether the A330 is available.”
Tang even gave hope to the idea of the route seeing Hong Kong Airlines’ newest aircraft, the A350.
“Initially, we would love to fly the A350 there so that we can take Filipinos from Manila transiting in Hong Kong all the way to Los Angeles without having to switch aircraft,” said Tang.
“That would be ideal. But we are not there yet. That is a natural sequence that we would like to see, and it depends on many factors.”
Hong Kong Airlines has recently been focusing on rapidly expanding its network, especially with new long-haul routes. Most recently, the airline has launched non-stop services to Vancouver, Los Angles, San Francisco and Moscow, and also has plans to fly to London and New York later this year.
So how does the new Manila service tie in with this goal?
“We kicked off as a regional carrier,” said Tang.“Our ultimate objective is also to introduce long-haul routes, but at the same time, we should not forget to underpin our regional network. That means, in parallel, we are doing both regional and international. That is a proper network. Otherwise, we will be placing too much on the international side and forget about the regional side.
“One of the key considerations for introducing a regional route is connectivity. Simply bringing passengers from Manila to Hong Kong is not good enough for business. We want the passenger to go further.”
The schedule for the new Hong Kong-Manila route is as follows (all times local):
|Flight number||Route||Departure time||Arrival time||Operation days|
|HX781||Hong Kong (HKG)-Manila (MNL)||2110||2300||Tue, Fri, Sun|
|HX781||Hong Kong (HKG)-Manila (MNL)||2130||2300||Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat|
|HX782||Manila (MNL)-Hong Kong (HKG)||0655||0855||Daily|