Hong Kong Airlines Sends An Airbus A350 Into Storage

Hong Kong Airlines has sent a new Airbus A350 into storage, flying the aircraft overnight across the world to its new home in France.

Hong KOng
Hong Kong Airlines A350 takes off. Photo: N509FZ via Wikimedia

Who is Hong Kong Airlines?

Hong Kong Airlines is a carrier-based out of Hong Kong that operates to 39 destinations (44 if you also include cargo routes). They have a fleet of 44 aircraft, made up of 12 Airbus A320-200s, 11 A330-200s, 10 A330-300s and six A350s (with another 5 on the order). They also have 5 cargo Airbus A330s.

But the best part about this airline isn’t the white bread summary but in fact the colorful last 12 months of the airline. We begin with the story that no one actually knows who the CEO of the company is, with two different chairpeople arguing over who is running the airline.

The airline decided to expand internationally which led to a shortage of funds. They had to cut back their ambitious plans when the passenger numbers fell (In part to changing market conditions as well as the protests in Hong Kong) which led to a request to the Hong Kong government for support. 

“It would definitely help if the government could temporarily waive these operating expenses so that airlines operating in Hong Kong can remain commercially viable,”

So why move an aircraft halfway across the world and into storage?

A350 Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airlines has not discussed its plans for its A350 fleet at this stage. Photo: Glenn Beltz via Flickr

Why did they fly the A350 into storage?

To help reduce costs, Hong Kong Airlines has decided to return an A350 (Tail number B-LGD) to France for storage, as reported by CAPA. The aircraft was flown north on the 21st of September over China, Russia and then into France.

Flight Radar
The flight path of the Airbus A350. Photo: Flight Radar 24

It is not clear if the aircraft is being returned to Airbus, or if it’s just going to a storage site, but it does seem a bit strange.

After all, an airlines business is transporting passengers, and to have a new aircraft that can do just that sitting around and not flying routes just doesn’t make sense. According to an article published by the South China Morning Post back in March, the airline planned to reduce it’s long haul fleet from 38 to 28 aircraft.

We are working on consolidating and optimizing our network and fleet.” a spokesperson mentioned to the newspaper Hong Kong Airlines aims to improve our structure to boost revenue, manage costs and achieve higher productivity”

Back in March, the airline was being sued by two leasing companies for failure to pay and was unable to take ownership of four Airbus aircraft due to be delivered. Two A350s were then given to another Chinese airline.

Hong Kong Airlines has been reached out to for comment but at the time of publishing as not responded to our media inquiries.

What do you think? Do you believe that they should be putting the new A350 into storage? Let us know in the comments.