jet operator Hong Kong Express is evaluating the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737
aircraft families for potential future expansion.
Andrew Tse said in an interview in Hong Kong today that the carrier sees a
potential need for aircraft larger than its existing 70-seat Embraer 170s and
that the Airbus and Boeing offerings are possibilities.
are looking at the next stage of expansion. We are evaluating the Embraer 190
and we are also talking to Airbus and Boeing,” he says.
reality is that in this market if you operate a regional jet with less than 70
seats it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t see a market for small RJs so if we
were to expand further even with Embraer we would look at a larger Embraer.”
adds: “If you go to 100 seats the difference between the E-190 and the A318,
A319, A320 and 737 is marginal and I think it warrants a second opinion. The
E-190 is not cheap. We are doing some number crunching now and we have been
talking to them [Airbus and Boeing] already.”
Kong Express only launched scheduled passenger services to points in mainland China
in September using an E-170 on lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services
(GECAS). It was the first E-170 operator in Asia
and now has two of the type. It will be adding a third early in December,
followed in April by a fourth and last example from its GECAS lease deal.
carrier currently operates four daily services to Guangzhou and three daily services to Hangzhou.
Twice-daily services to Ningbo
are to be added on 13 December, says Tse.
Kong Express is focusing primarily on the business travel market which requires
high-frequency services. Tse says that even if it opts for Airbus or Boeing
aircraft it will strive to maintain high frequency services and have short aircraft
turnaround times at airports.
says Hong Kong Express is meanwhile considering introducing services to Chengdu, Chongqing
and Nanjing in China.
It has Hong Kong Air Transport Licensing Authority route licences for all three
and has already secured the follow-on traffic rights for Chongqing and Nanjing.
Kong Express is also considering launching scheduled services to destinations
outside of China,
such as Taichung
and Okinawa in Japan,
says Tse. Initial plans only called for scheduled services to Chinese
don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket,” Tse says of the change in plans.
are points in Southeast Asia
that are not well served and where there are possibilities.”
identifies Siem Reap in Cambodia and Koh Samui in Thailand
as two such possibilities.
Kong Express is one of two regional jet operators in Hong Kong, the other being CR Airways which
operates Bombardier aircraft.