New Hong Kong Express
The unveiling of a new corporate identity this week marks the latest stage of what has been a rapid transformation of Asian airline Hong Kong Express Airways (HK Express) from a full-service operator to a low-cost carrier in less than a year. With almost ten years of experience in the aviation business, the carrier, part of the HNA Group and a sister operation to Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines, has been reinvented to better meet the demands of the local market and enable the group to better compete in the emerging low-cost sector in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has for many years been one of the most significant markets across the Asia / Pacific region and a major regional and international hub. Its gateway, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), last year welcomed more than 59.9 million passengers and handled 372, 040 aircraft movements, representing annual growth of 6.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.
"We wanted to establish a new brand for HK Express to reflect and support the amazing transition that HK Express has undergone in the past year, and the fresh, youthful and dynamic sense that the new design inspires fits perfectly with our ethos as Hong Kong’s one-and-only low fare airline."Andrew Cowen,
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong Express
Latest figures show that these increases were driven mainly by Hong Kong resident traffic which was up 13 per cent in December 2013, with visitor traffic growing at a shallower rate of 6 per cent over the same month in 2012. Passenger traffic to and from Mainland China, Taiwan and Japan recorded the most significant increases, due in part to the growing operations of LCCs at HKIA.
“The challenge was clear from my arrival, ” Andrew Cowen, deputy chief executive officer, HK Express told The HUB during an interview this week. “There were already around 17 or 18 LCCs already serving Hong Kong as a destination and with the dynamics of the local market set to see further change, the opportunity to establish a LCC venture and gain first mover status in Hong Kong was a clear driver for the Board.”
For Cowen, who has been involved in numerous low-cost airline start-ups and has a CV that includes senior experience at some of the region’s latest low-cost arrivals including VietJet Air in Vietnam, Peach Aviation in Japan and PAL Express in Philippines, following roles at Jazeera Airways and Sama in the Middle East and Go in Europe, the transformation of the business has been an interesting experience. He joined HK Express in March 2013 with the task to lead the separation of HK Express from the group and establish it as a standalone LCC with its own independent management team.
The existing branding of Hong Kong Express is near identical to its sister carrier Hong Kong Airlines.
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