Hong Kong Airlines is discontinuing its Vancouver service as of Feb. 12, 2020, one of several routes to be cancelled or suspended as the cash-strapped carrier scrambles to raise more money or risk losing its operating licence.
The route changes were announced Nov. 29 ahead of new licence requirements administered to the airline today (Dec. 2) by Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA). In its statement, the ATLA cited “ongoing financial problems” at Hong Kong Airlines, which reach back to at least December 2018. According to a statement by the ATLA, “If HKA fails to improve its financial situation as required by ATLA by the deadline, ATLA will take further action … which provides for revocation or suspension of licence.”
The ATLA’s decision will be announced Dec. 7, 2019.
“Having considered the latest financial position of HKA, ATLA was of the view that HKA's financial position has deteriorated rapidly to such an extent that has severely impacted on HKA's capability in meeting its obligations as an employer to pay salary and the probability of providing a satisfactory service under its licence in respect of continuity and regularity of operation,” the ATLA statement read.
"After careful consideration of the financial position of HKA at present, ATLA must take immediate and resolute action to prevent further deterioration of HKA's situation in order to protect public interests. In accordance with the two new licence conditions attached by ATLA, HKA must, by a deadline set, ensure cash injection at a level determined by ATLA (or provide an alternative to the satisfaction of ATLA), and raise and maintain its cash and cash equivalent level as stipulated by ATLA."
Hong Kong Airlines – which stated that its business has suffered as a result of recent social unrest stemming from pro-democracy demonstrations in the city – responded to the ATLA announcement by stating that it has acknowledged the new requirements, adding that “our operation is still running normally and we remain committed to flying our passengers to their destinations safely.”
The last HKA flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver will be HX080 on Feb. 10, 2020, while the last flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong will be HX081 on the same day (all times local). Vancouver service started in June 2017, marking HKA’s first foray into North America.
In addition to Vancouver, HKA will also cancel its Ho Chi Minh City route effective Feb. 20, 2020, while service to Tianjin, China will be suspended Feb. 10. HKA added that other changes could be coming as well, as the airline continues to “adjust its frequencies to other destinations according to changing market demands.”
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