Airline's all-business Airbus delivered
Hong Kong Airlines is a step closer to launching its all-business-class service to London in March after it took delivery on Saturday of a specially configured Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
The thrice-weekly London service is due to start on March 7. The new plane features 34 seats in a four-abreast arrangement that convert into lie-flat beds in Club Premium and 82 so-called cradle seats in a six-abreast configuration in Club Classic.
That compares with around 253 seats in a traditional economy and business class layout.
The airline is offering a special promotion from March to October that allows two people to fly together for HK$14,990 each or three people to fly for HK$13,300 each.
The promotion includes the Hong Kong security charge, but not fuel surcharges or other taxes. That compares with an individual Club Classic fare of HK$16,640 plus taxes.
The aircraft is also equipped with in-flight Wi-fi internet, so-called sky bars and an audio-video-on-demand entertainment system.
Hong Kong Airlines will start its all-business-class service to Gatwick Airport about one month before Cathay Pacific Airways introduces its first premium economy cabin in aircraft flying the London route.
The new aircraft arrived less than a week after the airline quietly halted its Hong Kong-Moscow flights due to low passenger volumes. The Moscow service stopped on January 16, about 18 months after it was launched.
The airline made no formal announcement about the ending of the Moscow service, which was launched in competition with Cathay Pacific's service to the Russian capital. But Moscow could no longer be found as a destination on Hong Kong Airlines' website, neither could the press release announcing the Moscow service's June 2010 start.
The Airport Authority website listed Monday's arrival from Moscow as cancelled.
The carrier did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
Aviation insiders said ending the Moscow flights could be a temporary measure for the winter, and that the airline could possibly revive the service summer.
The all-business A330 is one of 21 aircraft currently in the Hong Kong Airlines fleet. The carrier, which took delivery of a smaller Airbus A320 for mainland and Asian routes on Friday, has a further 54 Airbus aircraft on order. They include two more A330-200s, 15 A350-900s and 10 A380s.
The value, in US dollars, of Airbus double-decker A380 planes ordered earlier this month by Hong Kong Airlines