It was a late night at Hong Kong Airport for those celebrating the launch of HK Express’ first service to Saipan. Flight UO 042 was scheduled to depart at 21:30 on Tuesday 17 January. Posing for the camera were: Brian Bedell, Consul of Economic Affairs, US Consulate General; Christopher A. Concepcion, Managing Director of Marianas Visitor Authority; Shirley Ogumoro, Special Assistant for Administration for the Office of the Governor; Thomas Hodges, US Deputy Consul General; and Luke Lovegrove, Commercial Director for HK Express. The three times weekly service will face competition from Hong Kong Airlines which operates the same route twice-weekly.
- HK Express has launched its longest route yet with the introduction on 17 January of a three times weekly service between Hong Kong (HKG) and Saipan (SPN). The 3,434-kilometre route just exceeds the 3,402-kilometre route to Guam and will be flown by the LCC’s A320s. The route is already served twice-weekly by Hong Kong Airlines. HK Express flights depart Hong Kong on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 21:30 arriving in Saipan at 04:25 the following morning. Return flights leave the Northern Marianas island at 01:40 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays returning to Hong Kong at 05:00. Luke Lovegrove, Commercial Director of HK Express, said: “Our new route to Saipan which launches today has surpassed expectations in terms of demand. We are finally opening up the Mariana Islands with low fares making this beautiful location more accessible to the people of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.” HK Express now serves 25 destinations non-stop from Hong Kong with its fleet of 17 A320s (including two A320neos) and two recently acquired 230-seat A321s. The carrier welcomed just under three million passengers last year at a load factor of around 88%. Its share of seat capacity at Hong Kong Airport currently stands at 4.2%, ranking it fourth behind Cathay Pacific Airways (32%), Cathay Dragon (15%) and Hong Kong Airlines (9%).