Hainan Airlines Group subsidiary Hong Kong Airlines plans to place an order for the A380 as it looks to challenge Cathay Pacific Airways and further explore the fast-growing Chinese market, an industry insider told ATW.
 
HKA and Airbus are expected to announce the deal at next week’s Paris Air Show. The number of A380s to be ordered remains unknown. The airline last year finalized a contract with Airbus for 10 A330-200s and converted an existing order for 15 A330s to 15 A350 XWBs (ATW Daily News, Oct. 14, 2010).

HKA was launched in 2006 based on the assets of CR Airways. HKA and affiliate Hong Kong Express Airways operate a fleet of 18 aircraft comprising five A330-200s, eight Boeing 737-800s, two A330-200 freighters and three 737-300Fs on 43 routes to neighboring Asian countries and Moscow.

HNA Group signed an MOU with Boeing on behalf of HKA earlier this year for the purchase of six 777Fs, 30 787-9s and two VIP 787-8s.The MOU was seen as paving the way for an ambitious long-haul international expansion later this decade.
 
HKA will be the second Chinese carrier to order the A380; China Southern Airlines has five on order with deliveries scheduled to start in September.

Cathay Pacific CEO John Slosar told ATW earlier this month that the carrier "will have a good look at [potentially ordering] the large aircraft, the 747-8I and A380," within the next two years.

 
 
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