Hong Kong Airlines will launch a thrice-weekly service to Australia next year.
With effect from January 6, the carrier will operate a triangle service from its base in Hong Kong to the Gold Coast and Cairns before flying back.
Hong Kong Airlines will operate the route every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday with its A330 aircraft, which features a two-class configuration of 32 seats in business and 260 in economy.
Flight HX015 will depart Hong Kong at 2130 and arrive in the Gold Coast at 0830 the following day. It will then take off at 1030 with new operating code, HX016, and land in Cairns at 1245. Following a short layover, flight HX016 will depart Cairns at 1350 and touch down in Hong Kong at 1910.
The new service launch is a surprising turn for Hong Kong Airlines, given that the carrier has been resistant to long-haul routes, following the suspension of its all-business London services in 2012 (see here).
Poor demand, as well as competition from other more established full-service carriers, ultimately led to the demise of the route, with Hong Kong Airlines president Yang Jian Hong stating the carrier would instead focus its efforts across China, South East Asia, Japan and Korea.
However, according to Li Dianchun, commercial director of Hong Kong Airlines, the carrier has been monitoring a steady rise in demand for travel to Australia – with a 15 per cent increase in total visitor count from Hong Kong to Queensland since last year – and therefore anticipates healthy demand for the new service.
Combined with its competitive fares and product offerings, Li believes that the route has great potential to succeed.
“The route is designed to cater to the growing demand for tourism in the Gold Coast and Cairns, both of which are popular destinations for leisure travel,” said Li.
“Leveraging our connectivity in Asia via the international hub Hong Kong, we believe the new service will be well received by the passengers especially those from Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Okinawa, Bangkok and Taipei, bringing them more travel options.”
For more information, visit hongkongairlines.com