The Airport Authority of Hong Kong has seized seven Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) aircraft sitting idle, in a move to “protect financial interests”.

In a statement, the authority states that it acted under the territory’s Airport Authority Ordinance to “detain” the aircraft.

It adds that the seven aircraft “have not been operated for passenger service in recent months”.

HKA, in a separate statement, says ongoing “network consolidation” mean some of its aircraft have not been scheduled for operation.

“Our operation remains normal,” it adds.

It is unclear which seven aircraft from HKA’s fleet are detained. Cirium’s fleets data shows HKA has 12 aircraft in storage: two Airbus A320s, six A330-200s, as well as four A350-900s. It has another 26 aircraft in operation.

The embattled carrier has been the subject of financial scrutiny from the territory’s authorities, and was nearly wound up.

It has recently embarked on massive capacity cuts, including totally exiting from the North American market, and focusing only on “priority routes”.

On 7 December, HKA narrowly escaped sanction from the authorities, after it was handed a lifeline in the form of an urgently drawn up cash injection.