Hong Kong Airlines is working on developing its medium and long-term network, ahead of the entry into service of its Airbus A350s in 2017.

Speaking to Flightglobal on the sidelines of Routes Asia 2015 in Kunming, its assistant director of commercial Michael Burke says the carrier is targeting to launch more services in the five to eight hour range in the later part of 2015, and in 2016. These services will be operated using the Airbus A330s in its fleet.

Burke says key markets the airline is looking at includes Australia and India, but that both are heavily constrained by bilateral limitations, since the rights are currently fully utilised by Cathay Pacific Airways. Hong Kong Airlines is thus looking at niche markets outside of bilateral restrictions such as Gold Coast and Cairns.

An important part of the airline’s strategy is also partner with carriers through codeshares and interlines to build its network. The carrier already works with about eight carriers, and expects to firm agreements with three or four others this year.

“We aim to very aggressively, in the next couple of years, develop strong partnerships with other airlines as a way of building a virtual network. We need scale and strong partners to be able to deliver the scale that customers want,” says Burke.

For its incoming A350s, Burke says the aircraft will likely be put on services to Australia, North America and also Europe.

“We can develop long-haul ahead of time, with the existing aircraft and quality of product we already have. So the short term is [to look at] how we enter the market profitably to build them ahead of the A350s coming in,” he adds.

The full service carrier has a fleet of 24 A320s and A330s in service.

Source: Cirium Dashboard