HK Express

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from HeliHongKong)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
HK Express
HK express logo 2013.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded10 March 2004; 16 years ago (2004-03-10)
HubsHong Kong International Airport
Frequent-flyer programAsia Miles
AllianceU-FLY Alliance
Fleet size28
Parent companyCathay Pacific
HeadquartersCathay Dragon House, 11 Tung Fai Road, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Express Airways
Traditional Chinese香港快運航空
Simplified Chinese香港快运航空
Hong Kong Express
Traditional Chinese香港快運
Simplified Chinese香港快运
former name
Traditional Chinese航空
Simplified Chinese港联航空

Hong Kong Express Airways Limited, commonly known as Hong Kong Express[1][2][3][4] or just HK Express,[5] is a Hong Kong-based low-cost airline fully owned by Cathay Pacific Airways.[6][7] It provides scheduled air service to 27 destinations in Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, U.S. Territories, Taiwan and Thailand. The airline's main hub at Hong Kong International Airport uses a fleet that consists exclusively of the Airbus A320 family. In 2016, the airline became a founding member of the U-FLY Alliance. The company slogan is Your Move[8]

The head office of HK Express is located in Cathay Dragon House, 11 Tung Fai Road, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau, Hong Kong.


2004–2006: Founding[edit]

A Hong Kong Express Boeing 737-800 in the previous HNA Group livery

Hong Kong Express Airways Limited was incorporated on 10 March 2004, with the former Chinese name (港聯航空公司), added on 21 April 2004.[9] The airline was owned by Macau casino entrepreneur Stanley Ho.[10] In July 2004, Hong Kong's helicopter operator Heli Hong Kong officially announced plans to commence fixed-wing operation via Hong Kong Express, to become Hong Kong's fourth passenger airline. It was planning to introduce regional jet services to secondary cities in mainland China and was in negotiations with Bombardier and Embraer for the lease of several 50- or 70-seat regional jets.[11] In April 2005, the airline was granted permission to transport passengers, cargo and mail from Hong Kong to selected destinations in China and permitted to apply for traffic rights to serve 15 Chinese cities.[12] The next month, it received approval to operate scheduled air services to five cities in China, including Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Ningbo.[13] The airline had its Air Operator's Certificate varied in July 2005 for the operation of Embraer 170 aircraft.[14] The same month, it took delivery of its first of four 76-seat twin-jet Embraer 170, leased from General Electric Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), and became the Asian launch operator of this regional jet. Two more aircraft were delivered in 2005, with the remaining delivered in May 2006.[15][16][17]

The airline's initial use of its first Embraer 170 was on charter services to Taichung, Taiwan, on 3 September 2005. The first scheduled passenger services began to Guangzhou on 8 September 2005, with services to Hangzhou and Ningbo following in October 2005 and December 2005, respectively.[14][18] On 19 November 2005, Hong Kong Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) granted the airline additional licences to operate scheduled services to 16 destinations in mainland China, as well as Koh Samui, Okinawa, Siem Reap and Taichung.[19] Scheduled passenger services to Chiang Mai and Chongqing were inaugurated on 22 June 2006 and 31 July 2006, respectively.

2006–2013: Acquired by HNA and expansion[edit]

On 3 August 2006, HNA Group, the parent company of Hainan Airlines, announced a finalised agreement to acquire a 45 percent stake in Hong Kong Express; this followed an earlier purchase of a 45 percent holdings in CR Airways in June. Under the terms of the agreement, the airline would remain a Hong Kong registered airline and there would be no changes to the current operations. Analysts said that the HNA Group had the weakest international network amongst all the mainland airlines. By purchasing both Hong Kong Express and CR Airways, it would enable Hainan Airlines to expand internationally via its junior partners from Hong Kong.[20][21]

On 23 January 2008, the airline was the third Hong Kong carrier permitted by the Civil Aviation Department to operate flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai. To facilitate the expansion, it announced that six Boeing 737-800 would be added to its fleet before the end of the year.[22]

2013–2019: Low-cost carrier transformation[edit]

On 26 June 2013, Hong Kong Express announced its intention to transform into a low-cost carrier (LCC), and renamed to "HK Express", under the direction of the deputy CEO Andrew Cowen.[23] Hong Kong Express' first flights as a LCC commenced October 27, 2013, to five destinations in Asia. The airline has since added routes to Tokyo, Penang, Osaka, Fukuoka, Seoul and Busan. There are plans for the airline's fleet to increase by five Airbus A320 in 2014, taking the total number of aircraft to 11 within the year and with a longer term aim of having over 30 Airbus A320 by 2018.[24]

On 19 July 2017, during the annual Hong Kong Book Fair, HK Express launch an activities planning service known as U-Explore in collaboration with Hong Kong-based travel activities booking platform, Klook.[25][26]

On 9 November 2017, HK Express was banned by the Civil Aviation Department from adding new flights, routes or aircraft until 30 April 2018.[27][28] This followed the cancellation of 18 flights to Osaka, Nagoya and Seoul during National Day Golden Week that year, affecting about 2,000 passengers.[29] However, the delivery of four new aircraft was later permitted, provided they were used on existing routes only.[30]

2019–present: Acquisition by Cathay Pacific[edit]

Cathay Pacific executives confirmed in late February 2019 that it was in "active discussions" about its interest of a full or partial takeover of HK Express from current owner HNA Group, although an agreement had yet to be reached at the time.

On 25 March 2019, the South China Morning Post reported that Cathay Pacific had agreed to buy the airline.[31]

On 27 March 2019, Cathay Pacific agreed to take over HK Express for HK$4.93 billion (US$628 million), with the transaction to close by the end of 2019. At the time, HK Express operated 23 Airbus A320 aircraft on 25 routes from Hong Kong to Japan and Southeast Asia with a net asset value of HK$1.12 billion, while the airline recorded a profit of HK$60 million in 2017, but recorded a loss of HK$141 million in 2018.[32] The acquisition will be paid with HK$2.25 billion in cash and HK$2.68 billion in promissory loan notes, and HK Express will subsequently withdraw from U-FLY Alliance.[33][34] By the time the acquisition transaction is completed, HK Express will become Cathay Pacific's wholly owned subsidiary.[35] Following the acquisition, Cathay Pacific has stated that it intends to continue the operation of HK Express as a stand-alone low-cost carrier separate from its existing full-service operations.[35]

However, according to the announcement, a firm of solicitors acting for a shareholder of an intermediate holding company of HK Express, has contested the seller's entry into an agreement for the transaction. It also states that Cathay Pacific has the right to terminate the share purchase if proceedings are commenced to prevent the transaction. The contesting party is widely believed to be the chairman and the major shareholder of HK Express, Zhong Guosong, who has clarified that he has no intention to sell the company and will potentially launch legal action regarding the sale.[36][37]

On 19 July 2019, Cathay Pacific announced the acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways has been completed. HK Express is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. However, HK Express will continue to operate as a low-cost carrier stand-alone airline.[6]

Impact of COVID-19[edit]

HKExpress suspended all flight operations from 23 March to 30 April 2020 due to reduced demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[38]


These destinations are currently served by HK Express.[39]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
 Cambodia Siem Reap Siem Reap International Airport
 China Dunhuang Dunhuang Airport Terminated
Kunming Kunming Changshui International Airport Terminated [40]
Ningbo Ningbo Lishe International Airport [41]
Zhangjiajie Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport Terminated [42][39]
 Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport Hub
 Japan Fukuoka Fukuoka Airport
Hiroshima Hiroshima Airport [43]
Ishigaki New Ishigaki Airport [44]
Kagoshima Kagoshima Airport
Kumamoto Kumamoto Airport
Nagasaki Nagasaki Airport [45]
Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport [46]
Naha Naha Airport
Osaka Kansai International Airport [47]
Shimojishima Shimojishima Airport [48]
Takamatsu Takamatsu Airport [44]
Tokyo Haneda Airport
Narita International Airport [49]
 Malaysia Kota Kinabalu Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminated [50]
Penang Penang International Airport Terminated [51]
 Northern Mariana Islands Saipan Saipan International Airport [52]
 South Korea Busan Gimhae International Airport [53]
Jeju Jeju International Airport [54]
Seoul Incheon International Airport
 Taiwan Hualien Hualien Airport Terminated [55]
Taichung Taichung International Airport [56]
 Thailand Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport Terminated [57]
Suvarnabhumi Airport [57]
Chiang Mai Chiang Mai International Airport
Chiang Rai Chiang Rai International Airport Terminated [58][59]
Phuket Phuket International Airport
 Vietnam Da Nang Da Nang International Airport [60]
Nha Trang Cam Ranh International Airport [61]


As of October 2020, the HK Express fleet consists of the following aircraft:[62][63]

HK Express Airbus A320-200
HK Express Airbus A320neo
HK Express Airbus A321-200
HK Express fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 8 180
Airbus A320neo 9 188
Airbus A321-200 11 230
Airbus A321neo 16[64] TBA Deliveries from 2022
Total 28 16

Former fleet[edit]

A Boeing 737-800 in the airline's second-generation Hong Kong Express Airways livery
An Embraer 170 in the airline's original Hong Kong Express Airways livery

HK Express has previously operated the following aircraft:


Original livery[edit]

The original livery features a white fuselage with a blue engine and wingtip. The words "Hong Kong Express" are painted under the windows, with its former name "港聯航空" at the rear door.

Second livery[edit]

The second livery features the standard HNA Group Airline livery, almost identical with the livery of Hong Kong Airlines, with the golden bauhinia design on its logo. The only difference is the word "Express" in block letters painted under the windows.

Current livery[edit]

The current livery of Hong Kong Express is followed by the logo redesign of the airline. It features a white fuselage with a purple and red theme, and has a Hong Kong city silhouette in purple on the tail.[66]

Loyalty programme[edit]

On 14 April 2016, Hong Kong Express launched a loyalty programme named "Reward-U". Flights and gifts can be redeemed on the official website. The programme is free to join, only individuals two years old or above can join the programme. Each eligible Hong Kong Dollar spend earns ten points, but U-Biz passengers can earn 20 points per dollar spent. At most five members can form a reward-U crew to consolidate the points. Reward-U officially ceased its operations on December 31, 2019, merging with AsiaMiles.[67]


Sudden flight cancellation[edit]

In 29 September 2017, HK Express suddenly cancelled 18 flights to Osaka, Nagoya and Incheon on 1 and 8 October without any notice. Because the flights cancelled covered the National Day of China and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, 2,070 passengers were affected. HK Express felt extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused, and proposed a series of alternative solutions for the affected passengers, like travelling on another airline, changing travel dates, changing destination and a full refund. The Civil Aviation Department was unsatisfied by the behavior of HK Express, and required the airline to submit a detailed report regarding the causes, short-term and long-term solutions to the incidents.

Inappropriate promotion methods[edit]

In July 2018, HK Express was found posting advertisements under street signposts, with QR codes available for citizens to scan for information and participate in games to win prizes. The advertisements did not show the airline's name nor its logo, however names of Japanese places were shown. District council members said that these materials may cause chaos and mislead citizens, due to the fact that Highways Department strictly prohibits organisations from posting anything on their signposts. HK Express apologised for organising this activity, stopped the activity on July 18, 2018, and removed the advertisements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cathay Pacific to buy budget airline Hong Kong Express". BBC News. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Cathay Pacific buys Hong Kong Express from HNA for $628m". Financial Times. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Embattled Hong Kong Express names new CEO from Africa-based airline". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Cathay Buys Hong Kong Express to Enter Budget Airline Market". Bloomberg. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  5. ^ "HK Express rolls out refreshed brand identity". The Standard. Hong Kong: Sing Tao News Corporation. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Cathay Pacific Completes Acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways". Cathay Pacific. 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  7. ^ "Cathay Pacific agrees deal to take over budget airline HK Express, sources say". South China Morning Post. 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  8. ^ "HK Express - 'Your Move': HK Express Debuts Refreshed Brand Identity". HK Express. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Public Services - Registration of a new company". Government of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  10. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. Reed Business Information. 2007-04-03. p. 91.
  11. ^ Ionides, Nicholas (6–12 July 2004). "Helicopter operator aims for Hong Kong airline services" (PDF). Flight International. Reed Business Information. p. 12. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  12. ^ Francis, Leithen (26 April 2005). "Hong Kong pair near China rights". Flight International. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  13. ^ "Embraer Delivers Embraer 170 to Hong Kong Express" (PDF) (Press release). Embraer. 27 September 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 May 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  14. ^ a b "Hong Kong 2005 - Civil Aviation". Government of Hong Kong. 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  15. ^ "Embraer wins 170 Asian breakthrough" (PDF). Flight International. Reed Business Information. 7–13 December 2004. p. 9. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  16. ^ a b "First E-170 for Asia arrives". Flight International. Reed Business Information. 26 July 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  17. ^ "Hong Kong 2006 - Civil Aviation". Government of Hong Kong. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  18. ^ "Hong Kong Express launches Guangzhou flights". Asia Times Online. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  19. ^ "Decision on Hong Kong Express Airways' application for licence to operate scheduled services" (PDF) (Press release). Air Transport Licensing Authority. 19 November 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  20. ^ "Hong Kong Express Airways Confirms HNA Group Deal" (Press release). Hong Kong Express. 3 August 2006. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  21. ^ Lu, Haoting (3 August 2006). "HNA in talks to buy stake in HK airline". China Daily. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  22. ^ "Hong Kong Express Airways Granted Beijing and Shanghai Routes" (Press release). Hong Kong Express. 22 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  23. ^ "Hong Kong Express". Hong Kong Express. Archived from the original on 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  24. ^ ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)." Hong Kong Express. Accessed April 2014.
  25. ^ "The Wrap: U-Explore – new online booking platform from Klook and HK Express - WIT". WIT. 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  26. ^ 2017-07-20. TTG China - 旅业报 - 香港快运航空携手KLOOK客路推出U-Explore平台. (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-16.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ "CAD accepts HKE's improvement proposal". Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  28. ^ "Hong Kong Express banned from adding new aircraft or routes". South China Morning Post. 2017-11-09. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  29. ^ "Licence body warns airline of possible action over cancellations". South China Morning Post. 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  30. ^ "Budget airline's ban lifted 8 months after 'Golden Week' holiday chaos". South China Morning Post. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  31. ^ Lee, Danny (2019-03-25). "Cathay Pacific agrees to deal to take over budget airline HK Express, sources say". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  32. ^ Ellis Taylor (27 March 2019). "Cathay Pacific to buy HK Express in HK$4.93bn deal". Flightglobal.
  33. ^ "Cathay Pacific Agrees To Buy Low Cost Carrier HK Express". Simple Flying. 26 March 2019.
  34. ^ Allen, Michael (26 March 2019). "Cathay Pacific agrees to buy HK Express". Business Traveller.
  35. ^ a b "Cathay Pacific Airways Limited - Disclosable Transaction: Acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways Limited" (PDF) (Press release). Cathay Pacific. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  36. ^ "HK Express Acquired By Cathay Pacific For $628m". Simple Flying. March 27, 2019.
  37. ^ "Cathay Pacific to pay HK$4.93 billion for budget carrier HK Express". South China Morning Post. March 27, 2019.
  38. ^ Donny Kwok (20 March 2020). "Airline HK Express to suspend all flight operations March 23-August 2nd". Reuters.
  39. ^ a b "Route Map". HK Express.
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Hong Kong Express to Start Ningbo Service from late-July 2014". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Pack your bags for Zhangjiajie". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  43. ^ "Hiroshima - HK Express". Archived from the original on 13 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  44. ^ a b "HK Express Adds 3 New Routes to Japan in S16". airlineroute. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  45. ^ "HK Express plans Nagasaki launch in Jan 2019". Routesonline. 24 October 2018.
  46. ^ "HK Express to Start Nagoya Service from late-Sep 2014". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  47. ^ "HK Express adds Taichung, Danang and Osaka Kansai flights". Travel Trade Daily. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  48. ^ "HK Express plans Shimojishima service from July 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  49. ^ "Hong Kong Express to Start Tokyo Narita Service from Dec 2014". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  50. ^
  51. ^ "HK Express suspends flights to Penang from 25 April 2015". Sayacinta. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  52. ^ "HK Express schedules Guam / Saipan debut in W16". routesonline. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  53. ^ "HK Express to Start Busan Service from Aug 2014". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  54. ^ "HK Express Adds Jeju Route from late-June 2015". Airline Route. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  55. ^ "HK Express ends Hualien service in Oct 2018". routesonline. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  56. ^ "HK Express adds Taichung, Danang and Osaka Kansai flights". Travel Trade Daily. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  57. ^ a b
  58. ^ "HK Express Adds Chiang Rai Flights from Nov 2016". routesonline. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  59. ^
  60. ^ "HK Express to Start Da Nang Service from April 2015". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  61. ^ "HK Express schedules Cam Ranh/Nha Trang launch in Nov 2016". routesonline. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  62. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World. October 2019: 15.
  63. ^ "Airbus Orders & Deliveries". Airbus. October 2020. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020.
  64. ^ Chua, Alfred (November 8, 2019). "HK Express to take half of Cathay Dragon's A321neo orders".
  65. ^ "Hong Kong Express Fleet Details and History". Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  66. ^ "Hong Kong Express Livery Redesign South China Morning Post". South China Morning Post.
  67. ^

External links[edit]