21 October, 2017

Hong Kong Airlines Might Buy Boeing....

According to George Liu, the Chief Marketing guru of Hong Kong Airlines, the carrier is considering introducing Boeing 787 Dreamliners for long-haul operations to take on Cathay Pacific head on.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post Mr Liu said “To fly long haul, we have to introduce new aircraft. Right now we are still all-Airbus, but ... if we are talking to Boeing about 787s ... that [is a] possibility.”
“We have always been talking to Boeing and Airbus about possibilities,”

Of course, Mr Liu is biased towards the American competition crushing manufacturing giant having spent 12 years as a Boeing employee and a former Boeing director.

Is the airline about to erase its cost-effective advantage?

Hong Kong Airlines is already expanding its medium to long-range flights, as part of its growth strategy to compete head to head with Cathay Pacific. The airline introduced flights to Auckland and Vancouver earlier this year, with services to San Francisco, New York and London due to start within the next seven months.

Mr Liu’s comments seem to indicate a swing in the airlines' management’s thinking, as last month the carrier took delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft – from an outstanding order.  However, it’s a view that isn’t shared by all of the companies media relations staff, who advise us the airline has plans at all to buy Boeing aircraft – although with a stressed caveat of ‘at the moment’

A leading commentator on aviation in the region told us, “It is quite possible they would seek to bolster a long-haul fleet with the dreamliner as they need to expand fast if they want to compete with Cathay. The dreamliner is a nice aircraft, it has nice range and public perception of it is good and a mixed long-haul fleet does have one or two operational benefits, it is mostly a negative move in terms of costs and maintenance points. The dreamliner is also cheaper than the Airbus and Boeing’s odd trade discounting arrangements make it even cheaper, but in most other respects the Airbus is better on paper, so if Hong Kong Airlines is seriously thinking of going Boeing, it will lose its cost effective advantages that are critical in its fight with Cathay.”

Jason S

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