Hong Kong Airlines expects to reach pre pandemic levels by 2024

A Hong Kong Airlines Airbus lands in Taipei.
N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Hong Kong Airlines will be looking to recruit up to one thousand new staff during 2023, in a bid to meet the increased demand the airline has seen since borders reopened.

Some borders in the Asia region have been closed for up to one thousand days, crippling what was once a thriving air travel economy. 

Hong Kong based airlines can expect to be busy, with media in Hong Kong reporting that approximately 300,000 travel bookings have been made between the southern city and mainland China since flights between the two resumed.

Many travel movements involved the reuniting of families and friends that have not seen one another for close to three years.

“We have leveraged every travel recovery opportunity over the past few months amidst unprecedented pent-up demand, and we continue to see positive business growth, particularly from the Japanese markets,” said Hou Wei, Chairman of Hong Kong Airlines. 

“Following the reopening of Chinese borders, Mainland China will definitely be the next market to contribute significantly to our travel recovery efforts. As such, our flights to the Mainland double up to 35 sectors per week starting from 10 January, to offer more travel options for our customers.”

Ramping up flight operations

The carrier plans to ramp up its flight operations throughout January 2023 to regional destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa, Sapporo, Seoul, Bangkok, Manila,Hanoi, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu and Haikou. This representing 50% of the operational level it was at prior to the pandemic. 

It plans to be at 75% of its pre Covid flight levels by the end of 2023, with 100% resumption of operations during the middle of 2024. 

To support this increase in workload, it has welcomed staff back to work who had been away from the business on long pay leave. The aforementioned hiring drive endeavours to recruit 120 pilots, 500 cabin crew and 380 ground staff.

With plans to hire both local and overseas staff. If it reaches its target of 1,000 heads, then it will bring the carrier back to between sixty and seventy percent of its pre-pandemic staffing levels. 

As well as news of a hiring drive, the carrier also conveyed plans to increase crew and ground staff’s salaries.

Effective from 1 January 2023 crew members can expect a 8% basic salary pay rise and up to a 10% increase in the flying hourly rate, whereas ground staff have been told they will get a 5% basic salary pay rise, and a discretionary 5% variable incentive, paid quarterly.  

The Chairman expressed his appreciation and dedication of the staff that have all been through a turbulent time since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

“Our staff has continued to embody the spirit of ‘Truly Hong Kong’, to remain vigilant, whilst also delivering the best possible services to the Company and our customers throughout the course of the pandemic,” continued Hou Wei.

Domestic travel and border openings may come just at the right time for those wishing to travel to celebrate Chinese New Year. 2023 will be represented by the Water Rabbit and begins on Sunday 22nd January 2022.

By Jamie Stokes 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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