Hong Kong Airlines slashes fleet and pilots

Hong Kong Airlines has had more than its fair share of problems this year, which started badly with a devastating internal management battle and financial issues that took it to the brink.

No sooner had it started to turn things around, the protests started and tourism started to collapse.

HKA’s low cost model is dependent on a sizeable casual tourist trade and they’re the first to stop travelling to a troubled area.

Long haul routes to places like Auckland, Australia and San Francisco have proved impossible to sustain and yesterday was the last day of its SFO operations.

With Cathay Pacific, United and Singapore Airlines all offering flights to Hong Kong it simply can’t compete profitably.

With major routes shuttered, sub leasing of some of its A350’s has proven to be necessary. On top of that, the ongoing crisis in Hong Kong, which worsened yesterday with a new rule banning face coverings, the airline has had to take more action to cut costs.

It’s offered all of its foreign pilots the right to leave and and end their contracts without penalty, they won’t be charged for training or the advanced pay to establish them in the city.

This comes just a week after they opened a new training centre.

The airline is also cutting its fleet by a third, removing 12 aircraft by 2020.

The company admits that its long range international plans are in ruins and that its immediate future is as a regional carrier.

HKA once went as far as ordering the A380, a pie in the sky order if ever there was one, but it seems it’s ambitions for long haul are over and the crisis in the city state has driven this home far sooner, and far harder, than anyone expected.