Airline's chair up in air

Business | Gary Poon 18 Apr 2019

More chaos has erupted at Hong Kong Airlines, the cash-strapped subsidiary of the equally beleaguered HNA Group.

The latest controversy centers around who is the airline's chairman.

On Tuesday, the airline's major shareholders issued a statement announcing that former HKA director Zhong Guosong has been appointed chairman as part of a board expansion.

But Hou Wei, appointed chairman in December, yesterday wrote a "chairman's letter" to all airline employees to indicate who's boss.

Hou, the former vice-president of Hainan Airlines, said the changes of HKA's board of directors had resulted from a "shareholders dispute," and does not impact operations.

"I will continue to work hand in hand with our leadership team to take concrete actions to secure Hong Kong Airlines' future," Hou wrote.

The Tuesday statement said the moves were taken with "the sole objective of safeguarding the future of HKA which is currently under serious financial stress."

A statement posted yesterday on the airline's website said: "We would like to assure our customers, business partners and supporters that the current issues have no impact on our operations and we will continue to run our business as normal.

"Hong Kong Airlines remains committed to offering our best customer service to passengers flying with us over the upcoming Easter and Labor Day holidays."

According to the Companies Registry, Hou is still chairman. The airline did not respond to a request for comment.

Jeremy Tam Man-ho, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council's transport panel, believed the dispute could affect staff morale.

"Some staff may fear they will be cut, or the company will be reform in the future," he said.

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