Hong Kong Express has launched an air service to the mainland with four daily flights between the territory and Guangzhou. The service was inaugurated last month with flight times lasting 20 to 25 minutes compared with nearly two hours by train. Flying Embraer 170 twinjet aircraft, the airline is the first in Asia to operate the Brazilian-made aircraft, which seats 76 passengers. The Embraer 170 has a bigger cabin than other aircraft its size and it also has extra room for cargo. 'We are positioning ourselves as a premium carrier,' said James Yeung, commercial director of Hong Kong Express. 'We are an executive airline flying into and out of mainland China, catering to business travellers.' Three more aircraft will be added to the nascent airline's fleet over the coming months, enabling it to expand its network to Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing and Ningbo by the middle of next year. It eventually plans to spread its wings to cities throughout the mainland and elsewhere in the region. 'We have an expansion plan to add two aircraft per year for the next five years,' Mr Yeung said. 'If there is huge demand, we will of course expand faster.' Hong Kong Express is a sister operation of HeliExpress, which links Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen by helicopter. More than US$100 million was committed to launch the new service, made possible by the liberalisation of air services between Hong Kong and the mainland, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the growth in demand for jet travel between the two markets.