Hainan have secured transfer rights for two of their sister company, Hong Kong Airlines, A350-900s. The aircraft will be transferred to Hainan Airlines for free, as part of its endeavors to ramp up capacity growth.
According to Flight Global, Hainan, Hong Kong Airlines and Airbus all signed an agreement to transfer the two aircraft between the carriers. The aircraft in question are Airbus A350-900s with serial numbers 360365 and 360371. This is likely part of Hong Kong Airlines’ move to downsize, amid recent turmoil and even a debate over who’s the airline’s CEO.
Hainan Airlines took delivery of their first A350 last autumn and have ordered a total of 15 of the type. Four have so far been delivered, with more expected over the coming months. This addition of the two A350s from Hong Kong Airlines will enable Hainan to grow capacity more rapidly, as it sets its sights on major international expansion.
Hainan Airlines, owned by the HNA Group, has some lofty goals when it comes to long haul servies. The 15 A350s originally ordered by HNA were intended to be split between Hainan and subsidiaries Tianjin Airlines and Capital Airlines. However, with Hainan’s strong focus on long haul missions, the entire A350 order is now destined for this carrier.
According to Flight Global reporting, Hainan are planning to launch more than 40 international routes out of their hub over the next five years. This would take the number of international services by the carrier to 58 and is being planned as part of a drive to increase inbound tourists to the province to two million a year.
Beijing is supporting Hainan province in achieving this target by introducing a 30 day visa free policy for citizens of 59 countries, which came into effect from May 1st.
Hainan’s current A350s have one of two different layouts inside. The first has 334 seats including 33 business class seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. The second layout has 339 seats including 30 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Hainan do not say as much, but it appears that the first layout is more for international routes and the second more for domestic.
Just last month, Hainan started operating service between Beijing and Boston using its A350. This was the first US destination to make use of the A350, replacing a 787-9 that previously serviced the route. According to Business Traveler, this service is flown with the 1-2-1 business class seating, meaning all passengers enjoy direct aisle access.
According to Seat Guru, Hong Kong Airlines’ A350s also sport two different layouts. The most common features 33 flatbed seats in business, arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. As well as this, they have 199 standard economy seats and 102 comfort seats with extra legroom. While that sounds nice enough for long haul, we secretly hope Hainan are getting the other, less common layout for their transferred planes.
The second layout has 33 flatbed seats in the ever popular reverse herringbone arrangement in the business cabin. This type of layout gives more privacy for all travelers, while giving those with a lucky window seat a perfect view over the skies.
Whichever it is, you can be sure to see these aircraft taking their place in the Hainan fleet very soon, and undoubtedly operating some long haul routes in the not too distant future.