Air Hong Kong upgrades fleet with A330P2F; plans single fleet by 2025

Fleet upgrade comes at a time for Air Hong Kong, coinciding with DHL Express's expansion of its logistics hub at HKIA in November 2023.

Air Hong Kong upgrades fleet with A330P2F; plans single fleet by 2025
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Air Hong Kong, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cathay Group, is making significant strides in modernising its fleet. The company, which primarily serves DHL Express, is planning to replace its older Airbus A300F aircraft with new A330-P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversions and aiming to operate a single fleet by 2025.

The fleet upgrade comes at a time for Air Hong Kong, coinciding with DHL Express's expansion of its Central Asia Hub (CAH) at Hong Kong International Airport in November 2023. The expanded facility has increased DHL's overall capacity by 50%.

The fleet modernisation plan was initially outlined by Tom Owen, Director, Cathay Cargo, during an episode of Cargo Masterminds aired in November 2023 stating: "By the end of 2024, our fleet will be 100% composed of A330 freighters, removing the older A300 aircraft. That is primarily because the Asian Logistics Hub, which we operate for DHL with our Air Hong Kong flights, is a strong one for express cargo. On the back of the expanded DHL operation in terms of terminal capacity, we have the ability to upgrade our freighter network and capacity. Currently, the fleet is 15 but we are looking to see opportunities for growth when they emerge with DHL."

Clarence Tai, Chief Operating Officer, Air Hong Kong

Now, in June 2024, Clarence Tai, Chief Operating Officer, Air Hong Kong, provided an update on the progress of this transformation. In a recent conversation with Cathay Cargo’s publication- Cargo Clan, Tai stated: “Today we have 16 aircraft, but our requirements are for 15. We have been gradually replacing the older Airbus A300Fs with new A330-P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversions. At this point of time, we’ve received a new A330, but we haven’t released the old A300 yet, so we are in a transition and have an extra aircraft. Two of our ten A330 aircraft are production freighters, with eight P2F conversions. We still have six A300s, but one will be leaving soon once we have processed the latest transition. By Q2 2025, we will have completed our entire aircraft rollover programme. Each A330 offers around 20-30% additional payload, but that’s dependent on route and range.”

Highlighting the importance of Air Hong Kong’s fleet modernisation, Michael Edmunds, Vice President, Aviation Network Planning & Control APEC, DHL Express added: “Air Hong Kong has been a vital carrier, as it works with us to support intra-Asia trade and e-commerce growth. Modernising Air Hong Kong’s fleet is necessary to further boost its agility to support the future growth of Asia Pacific, as well as provide reliable operations key to DHL Express’s customer promise. We look forward to strengthening our partnership in the coming years.”

Air Hong Kong currently operates an average of 75 weekly frequencies for DHL, up from 63 before the pandemic. The transition to A330 aircraft brings additional benefits beyond increased capacity. Air Hong Kong is EDTO-compliant (extended diversion time operations) which has already enabled the airline to expand its network, including flights to Bahrain and Leipzig, with plans for more new destinations in the future.

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