Hong Kong-based regional
jet operator CR Airways plans to launch a scheduled passenger service to the
Chinese city of Kunming at the
end of this month, around the same time it expects to get its second Bombardier
officer Kelly Cheng says that at the “end of October or beginning of November
we will have the first flight [from Hong Kong] to Kunming”,
adding that “it will be a scheduled service” but frequency has yet to be
Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s
province, is one of five Chinese cities CR Airways recently gained traffic
rights to serve, the others being Tianjin,
Haikou, Sanya and Guilin.
It has since launched services to
all these cities with the exception of Kunming
Cheng says services to the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, are unlikely
to start this year.
CR Airways also has traffic rights
to Weizhou and Meixian but
the carrier has been unable to launch services to these small Chinese cities
because the airports there lack customs, immigration and quarantine facilities
to process passengers from Hong Kong and overseas.
For the remainder of this year the
carrier wants to focus on increasing frequency and building up its presence in
the cities it already serves, says Cheng, adding that CR Airways plans to open
more offices in mainland China.
She says currently most of CR
Airways’ traffic comes from people in Hong Kong travelling
to mainland China but it wants to encourage
more mainlanders to come to Hong Kong.
CR Airways currently has two CRJ200s
and one CRJ700 but early in November it expects to take delivery of its second
It was originally expecting the
second CRJ700 to arrive in mid-August but this aircraft is still in Copenhagen
with the vendor, Danish carrier Maersk Air, which has
“had to do a lot of work” to get it ready for delivery such as painting the CR
Airways’ livery on it, says Cheng.
She says even though CR Airways
currently only has three aircraft in Hong Kong these
have “very low utilisation because we have insufficient numbers of pilots. We
have hired some additional pilots and they are now at Bombardier in Montreal,