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HK carrier eyes flights to PH

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By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Budget carrier Hong Kong Express Ltd. (HK Express) is seeking approval to launch flights to the Philippines.

HK Express, which claims to be Hong Kong’s first and only low-cost carrier, has filed a petition in the Civil Aeronautics Board for a foreign air carrier’s permit. This would allow it to mount scheduled air transportation services in the Philippines.

HK Express did not indicate where it wanted to operate specifically. The CAB set the hearing date for Oct. 11, 2017.

HK Express started operations in 2013. It flies to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Its push into the Philippines is seen as part of a strategy to expand in Southeast Asia.

HK Express operates Airbus A320s and A321s. It had 21 planes as of the first quarter of 2017.

“As the list of destinations increases, HK Express’ fleet is set to grow even further with plans for over 30 Airbus A320’s by 2018,” the budget airline said on its website.

For August this year, HK Express said it flew 353,971 passengers, or a gain of 38.6 percent from year-ago number.

Over the 12-month period, it flew 3.46 million passengers, up 24.8 percent.

HK Express said its load factor, a measure seat capacity against the volume of travellers, jumped due to the busy summer travel season. For August, its load factor hit 93 percent, higher than the average 90 percent over the last 12 months.

It likewise tagged ancillary revenues, or nonticket sales, as contributing a larger share to overall earnings. It said ancillary revenue rose 24.7 percent in August from 21.68 percent over the last 12 months.

It said this was due to popular services like flexible baggage allowance and optional inflight meals.

“Our increasing ancillary revenue and load factors make it possible—by keeping operational costs down, we can pass that savings onto our guests,” Andrew Cowen, CEO of HK Express, said in a statement that discussed its August 2017 operational results.

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