Air Hong Kong celebrates Chengdu route launch and stretches wings to Bahrain

Bahrain charter service for the winter marks first long-haul flight for 20 years

Air Hong Kong has extended its route network with two new destinations. In July, it formalised its Chengdu charter arrangements for principal customer DHL Express into a regular scheduled service. This month, the carrier embarks on a series of charter services to Bahrain, linking two of the courier service’s principal hubs for the peak season.

Air Hong Kong, a fully owned subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Group, has operated flights to Chengdu on a charter basis since September 2020. This has now been formalised into an overnight service to Chengdu and back, which runs five times per week and is operated by an Airbus A300-600F.

As a consequence, the airline’s fleet has grown to 15 aircraft to accommodate the new route, which brings its scheduled network up to 14 stations. The new service frees up more capacity for DHL Express to serve the Chinese Mainland’s southwestern region through Chengdu and the import/export markets for overnight express parcels and e-commerce, and also opens up opportunities for Cathay Pacific Cargo to sell spare air cargo capacity as Air Hong Kong’s general sales agent.

Two people dressed up in personal protective equipment holding up a banner in front of an Air Hong Kong plane
Air Hong Kong, a fully owned subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Group, now operates flights to Chengdu five times per week by an Airbus A300-600F

‘The whole Air Hong Kong family is excited about the launch of the scheduled services to Chengdu, which has increased our weekly scheduled frequency from 70 flights to 75 flights per week,’ said Clarence Tai, Chief Operating Officer of Air Hong Kong. ‘We would like to thank all our teams, all those at Cathay Pacific Cargo, and our suppliers in Hong Kong and Chengdu for making this operation possible on a very short lead time during a challenging operating environment because of COVID-19 restrictions on the Chinese Mainland.’

The Air Hong Kong team is now busy preparing to launch charter flights from Hong Kong to Bahrain, linking two of DHL Express’ regional hubs in advance of the anticipated surge in demand over the peak period. It will be Air Hong Kong’s first mid-long-haul service in around 20 years, and will deploy one of the airline’s two A330-200Fs, which were designed with crew rest areas featuring bunk beds for longer routes. Crews will also have a layover rest before they return to Hong Kong.

The Bahrain flights start on 25 September on a weekly basis, later moving to twice-weekly from November as demand for capacity increases.

Close up of an Air Hong Kong/DHL freighter
Air Hong Kong now offers charter services from Hong Kong to Bahrain on a weekly basis, which will be increased to twice-weekly from November 2022

Tai added: ‘We look forward to the launch of Bahrain: another key milestone for our operations out of Asia. All these developments are the result of the good work achieved by our small Air Hong Kong team, with the support of various departments in Cathay Pacific and other key suppliers.’

In the lead picture (from left): Connie Cheng, Chief Financial Officer Air Hong Kong; Zhi-qing Lai, Riding Engineer; Patrick Li, Head of Engineering Air Hong Kong; Geoff Marinko, Director of Flight Operations Air Hong Kong; Clarence Tai, Chief Operating Officer Air Hong Kong; Gus Larard, Chief Training Captain Air Hong Kong / Captain of Inaugural Flight; Michael Lau, First Officer of Inaugural Flight; Ricky Yeung, Head of Business Development & Services Air Hong Kong; and King-wa Pang, Riding Loadmaster.

Air Hong Kong network map as of Sep 2022