Hong Kong Airlines President Yang Jianhong reportedly stated Grand China Airlines, parent of Hainan Airlines, and Hong Kong Airlines, 45% controlled by Hainan Airlines, plan to raise a combined HKD15 billion (USD1.9 billion) in an IPO in Hong Kong in 2011 (South China Morning Post/Reuters/Shanghai Daily, 23-Nov-2010). Grand China Airlines reportedly plans to raise more than HKD10 billion (USD1.3 billion) in 1H2010 while Hong Kong Airlines is selecting underwriters for a planned HKD5 billion (USD644 million) IPO in 3Q2011. Mr Yang stated the application for Hong Kong Airlines to list as a "red chip" or overseas registered Chinese company, had been approved by the State Council. Grand China, which postponed a share sale plan two years ago due to the global economic crisis, is also the parent of China Xinhua Airlines, Shanxi Airlines and Changan Airlines. Hong Kong Airlines, which operates a fleet of 18 aircraft, plans to use the proceeds of its IPO to fund aircraft acquisitions with 33 widebody Airbus aircraft on order.
Hong Kong Airlines and Grand China Airlines plan USD1.9bn IPO
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Hong Kong Airlines to grow in Australia via Virgin Australia partnership. Auckland launches Nov-2016
Having built a regional Asian network anchored around mainland China as a source market, HNA Group's Hong Kong Airlines is leveraging its hub capability from short/medium haul connections to long haul transfers, which also reduce CASK. Hong Kong Airlines resumed long haul flying in early 2016 with a service to Cairns and the Gold Coast. Auckland will be added from Nov-2016 and Hong Kong Airlines should be able to break up the Air New Zealand-Cathay Pacific joint venture on the route.
Hong Kong Airlines is restricted from serving major Australian cities due to bilateral limits (Australia and Hong Kong have not been able to agree on increased capacity levels). Hong Kong Airlines' owner HNA has bought into Virgin Australia, which plans to serve the key HNA hubs of Beijing and Hong Kong in 2017, providing access from major Australian cities. Virgin could also help Hong Kong Airlines make viable service to smaller Australian cities.
Hong Kong Airlines is receiving a lift in Australia and New Zealand bookings, attributed to Asian consumers shifting away from travel in Europe, which has repeatedly been impacted by terrorist acts. Hong Kong Airlines believes that passengers are "viewing Australia and New Zealand together as more of a safe-haven status destination".
China and Australia remove airline growth restrictions as China cautiously embraces open skies
China has agreed to liberalise passenger flights and remove capacity restrictions with Australia, its largest outbound long haul market after the United States. This is a relief to Chinese airlines, which face bilateral constraints in North America and Europe. The result is already evident as Chinese airlines deploy more capacity and larger aircraft to Australia.
In North American and European markets the local governments hold back on traffic right expansion (let alone open skies). But for Australia it was the Australian government, which signalled some years ago that it wanted to liberalise once China was ready – a time that has now come.
Australia's view was progressive and detached from bygone days of national carrier interest; Chinese airlines hold 90% of the market to Australia. Elsewhere many governments still hold back on Chinese traffic right expansion so their local airlines can continue to grow. There are 15 Chinese airports that have nonstop flights to Australia with a total of 27 airport pairs – figures that should expand in 2017 as the market evolves further with the Virgin Australia-HNA partnership.