Wednesday, August 27, 2014   




CR Airways launches HK-Danang service

Keith Wallis

Friday, August 06, 2004

CR Airways, owned by businessman Robert Yip, has inaugurated charter

flights between Hong Kong and Danang, Vietnam, in what it hopes will

soon become a regular scheduled service.

The Civil Aviation Department approved the airline's application last

week to operate two charter flights. These were flown on July 30 and

last Monday (August 2).

But just 22 people, including 10 journalists, were on board the

airline's 50 seat Bombardier CRJ-200, for the first flight last

Friday.

Despite the low passenger load, Yip was upbeat about the service. He

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told reporters in Danang: "We are delighted to have this opportunity

to expand our regional network to Vietnam, one of Asia's fastest

growing economies and newest and most exciting tourism destinations."

The two charter flights came about two weeks after Vietnam's Pacific

Airlines stopped its twice-weekly service between Hong Kong and Danang

because of lack of business.

Undeterred, CR Airways has filed a licensing application with the Air

Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) to operate regular scheduled

services between Hong Kong and Danang.

Kenneth Thong, CR Airways director and chief executive, said it

normally takes ATLA between six weeks and three months to process an

application.

Asked if the scheduled flights would start by Christmas, Thong said:

"I don't think as quickly as that."

After receiving the licence, CR Airways would have to be made a

designated carrier on the Hong Kong-Danang route by the Economic

Development and Labour Bureau. It would also have to seek traffic

rights from the Hong Kong and Vietnamese authorities.

One insider doubted whether there was spare capacity under the

existing Hong Kong-Vietnam air services agreement for CR Airways to

launch a large number of weekly flights. "All the capacity is on

routes to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City," the insider said. He added

that the new services would form an extension of the airline's

existing twice-weekly service between Hong Kong and Siem Reap in

Cambodia.

"The schedule would be Hong Kong-Danang-Siem Reap," he said.

Thong said the CR Airways flights would become the first direct

scheduled service between Hong Kong and Danang. He said the airline is

currently reviewing plans to expand the fleet with the acquisition of

additional Bombardier regional jets.

Asked how many aircraft the airline was planning to acquire, Thong

said: "We don't know yet. It all depends on the routes we have."

There has been speculation CR Airways plans to acquire up to 20

Bombardier CRJ-200s. The airline has also actively been seeking

outside investors with Hutchison Whampoa named as one of the firms

that have been approached.

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END


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