The unveiling of a new corporate identity earlier this year marked the latest stage of what has been a rapid transformation of Asian airline Hong Kong Express Airways (HK Express) from a full-service operator to a low-cost carrier in less than a year. With almost ten years of experience in the aviation business, the carrier, part of the HNA Group and a sister operation to Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines, has been reinvented to better meet the demands of the local market and enable the group to better compete in the emerging low-cost sector in Hong Kong.
The transformation began in June 2013 and by September 2013 HK Express opened reservations for the first of its low-cost flights, launching services to five Asian cities, comprising Chiang Mai and Phuket in Thailand; Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia; Kunming in China and Taichung in Taiwan from October 27, 2013. It has already expanded its network with new flights to Tokyo Haneda in Japan from November 7, 2013; Penang in Malaysia from November 14, 2013 and Osaka Kansai in Japan from November 21, 2013, while later this month from March 30, 2014 it will commence a daily link to Seoul in South Korea and services to Fukuoka in Japan will follow from April 10, 2014.
The HUB Daily caught up with the airline’s deputy chief executive officer, Andrew Cowen, on the sidelines of Routes Asia in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia last week to learn more about the carrier’s growth ambitions. In our video interview, which you watch below, he highlighted the carrier’s strong forward bookings and load factors, its fleet and network development plans, the rebranding of the business based around the iconic Hong Kong skyline and the importance of the airline’s on-time performance.
Andrew Cowen, deputy chief executive officer on the rebirth of HK Express as Hong Kong's first 'local' low-cost carrier.