Hong Kong Air ups capacity to Thailand

Hong Kong Airlines will begin boosting capacity on Thailand-bound flights tomorrow to tap fast-growing travel demand, largely from Chinese nationals departing from the territory.

An A330-200 such as this one will be used for Hong Kong Airlines’ Phuket service.

The carrier will add a fourth weekly flight on its Bangkok-Hong Kong route and use a larger jetliner on its daily Hong Kong-Phuket service, said an executive in the Bangkok office.

The increased capacity for Thailand-bound service forms part of the airline's strategy of strengthening its regional network across Southeast Asia and China.

It is ramping up frequencies to Taipei, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Kunming, Fuzhou, Sanya and Haikou, effective tomorrow.

Hong Kong Airlines will continue to use the combination of A330-200 and A330-300 wide-body jets for its Bangkok-Hong Kong flights.

The two types of aircraft are configured with both business and economy classes - 259 seats in economy and 24 in business for the A330-200, and 260 in economy and 32 in business for the A330-300.

For Hong Kong-Phuket flights, the airline will begin using an A330-200 to replace the A320, a narrow-body jet with 140 seats in economy and eight in business.

Thailand's growing popularity as an attractive destination among Chinese travellers has led Hong Kong Airlines to heighten capacity on its Thailand-bound flights.

Roughly three-fourths of passengers travelling on the airline's flights to Bangkok and Phuket are Chinese in tour groups, with the rest mainly Thais.

But Hong Kong Airlines' capacity for Bangkok-Hong Kong is far smaller than that of the two leaders in the sector - Thai Airways International and Cathay Pacific, currently with five and six flights a day, respectively.

Hong Kong Airlines will launch a new route, Hong Kong-Xiamen, in mid-May.

To cope with the increasing demand of aviation traffic in the region, the airline will continue to explore high-potential markets in China and Southeast Asia.

The carrier operates a fleet of 24 jets - four A330-300s, six A330-200s, 10 A320-200s and four A330-200F freighters - flying to nearly 30 destinations.

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Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business