Low-cost carrier HK Express is looking boost its operations to Mainland China beyond its current network of three points, as it seeks to grow “a more balanced and diverse network”. 

Speaking to FlightGlobal on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Dubai, airline chief executive Jeanette Mao says the airline intends to grow its frequencies to “double digits”, but did not commit to a timeline. 


Source: BillyPix

Mao says the carrier will look at secondary cities

The number of flights HK Express operates to the mainland now stands at about 5% of its total network – the low-cost arm of Cathay Pacific flies to Ningbo in the east, and launched flights to Beijing’s Daxing airport and Sanya on Hainan island this year. 

HK Express’ Northeast Asia operations – including Japan – take up the lion’s share of flights at 70%, and Southeast Asia stands at around 25%. 

“I think the next step for us [in Mainland China] will be to operate to more secondary… and tertiary cities. [For us] low-cost carriers we promote the affordability of travel… we want everyone to be able to travel, so for that we see huge potential for the Mainland China market,” she adds. 

While the airline “puts our emphasis” on Mainland China, Mao says it is also looking to expand Southeast Asia flights, while maintaining its “leadership position” in operations to Japan. 

She adds that the airline’s new aircraft deliveries will continue apace. HK Express operates a fleet of 34 Airbus narrowbodies. By the end of the year, it will have 40 aircraft in its fleet. 

It has began taking deliveries of new Airbus A321neos, with five from an order of 33 examples already delivered. Through 2025, Mao says HK Express will take delivery of another 11 A321neos, with the remaining deliveries running to 2029. 

“This will ensure our growth does not stop at 40 aircraft; we are looking at more than 60 aircraft actually,” says Mao.