Hong Kong Express launches city's first executive airline, eyeing China market

HONG KONG (XFNews) - Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd, chaired by Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, has launched the city's first executive airline with its main target the lucrative Chinese market.

The airline, formerly Helicopters Hong Kong and of which Ho is one of the main shareholders, said it wants to take advantage of the growth in business travel between Hong Kong and China.

Hong Kong Express will fly daily to the southern city of Guangzhou by September and later to Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing and Ningbo.

"There is the opportunity if you look at it, now with CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, a trade agreement between Hong Kong and China) and the opening of Disneyland (in Hong Kong), the economic climate is perfect, the timing is right," said Andrew Tse, the airline's chief executive officer and one of its two primary shareholders along with Ho.

The airline has leased four Embraer 76-seat aircraft and Tse said its fleet may have up to 10, targeting international travellers who go to China through Hong Kong.

He said that by using smaller aircraft, the airline can have more frequent flights, adding: "This is the model we want to offer and provide shuttle services (to the customers)."

Tse said the airline has travel rights to 10 other mainland cities and it is also looking at destinations outside China, including the Koh Samui resort in Thailand.

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