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Hong Kong Airlines details widebody fleet expansion

Hong Kong Airlines looks forward to the arrival of its first Airbus A350-900s this year, while a new batch of A330-300s due for delivery next year will help boost capacity on regional services.

Speaking to FlightGlobal on the sidelines of the IATA annual general meeting, assistant commercial director Michael Burke says that the A350s and new A330s will kick off a major fleet and network transition for the carrier.

"The A350s will be deployed to major sectors around the world, but we will also grow in parallel with the [existing] A330 fleet, as we have done with Auckland and Vancouver," he says.

HKA will receive three A350s that were originally destined for Azul, although the Brazilian carrier has said that those would be transferred to the HNA Group. HNA is a major shareholder in both Azul and HKA.

Burke says that the A350s will launch a new long-haul destination in December, but gave no further details.

Then, from 2018, the carrier will begin receiving a batch of new-build A330-300s for use on regional services. These aircraft will be configured with a higher seat density, but will still provide a consistent product with its existing A330 fleet.

"They will still have flatbed business class, but they will be for routes within an eight or nine hour range, and that will free up our existing A330s that already have a very, very good product for niche secondary opportunities," says Burke.

He adds that the carrier is looking particularly to use the existing widebody fleet of nine A330-200s and nine A330-300s to open up secondary destinations in Europe.

Asked about the carrier's fleet of 11 A320s, Burke says there are no plans to add more narrowbodies to its fleet in the short-term.

"We're flying the aircraft further, we're upgauging where possible, so we won't be taking any more A320s. We have no plans to actually replace them yet and upgauge that way, but we have the potential to do that."

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