Hong Kong Airlines set to re-apply for a stock exchange listing later this year
Updated: 2015-06-23 07:22
By Sophie He in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
Hong Kong Airlines applied for a listing in 2014 with a "dual tranche, dual counter" model. But the company withdrew its application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange later that year, saying that it needed more time to prepare for the necessary materials. Brent Lewin / Bloomberg
Hong Kong Airlines Ltd, a Hong Kong based full-service airline partly owned by Hainan Airlines of the Chinese mainland, is planning to re-launch its initial public offering (IPO) later this year, Ben Wong Ching-ho, chief operating officer of Hong Kong Airlines, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
The company withdrew its listing application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for listing last year, saying that it needed more time to prepare for the necessary materials.
Since then, "we have been actively preparing to reapply for a listing", said Wong, adding that its sponsors and lawyers are confident that the company will be ready to launch its IPO later this year.
Wong mentioned that when the company applied to be listed in 2014, it aimed for the "dual tranche, dual counter" model. But "we are now considering all possibilities", he said.
Wong said that Hong Kong Airlines' routes are concentrated on the mainland, Taiwan and Japan. But in near future, it plans to operate more direct routes between Hong Kong and various second-tier cities on the mainland and increase the frequencies of direct routes to Beijing and Shanghai.
"We see rising demand by passengers in second-tier cities, like Wuhan, to fly directly to Hong Kong," Wong said, adding that the company operates four daily flights between Hong Kong and Beijing and five between Hong Kong and Shanghai. There is room for growth in these markets because of the huge demand, he said.
Wong said that about 20 percent of for passengers flying between Hong Kong and various mainland cities would choose Hong Kong Airline.
In 2014, Hong Kong Airlines carried a total of 5.1 million passengers. Wong predicted that the number will growth to around 6 million in 2015, judging by results in the past 6 months.
Wong noted that the company owns 25 aircraft includes and three Airbus A330-300s, nine Airbus A330-200s, and as of February 2015, the average age of its fleet stands at just 3 years. The company has place orders for more planes in 2007 and 2009 for deliveries in coming years.
"By the end of 2018, we will have over 50 planes," Wong said. He said the company is also planning to launch more long-haul flights between Hong Kong and other large international cities. "We want to become a more reputable international airline in the future," said Wong.
He mentioned that between 70 percent to 80 percent of the company's 3,000 employees are Hong Kong residents. It will recruit an additional 1,000 employees in 2015 and 80 percent of whom will be hired locally, he said.
Wong said that Hong Kong's international airport is reaching its capacity, and an extra runway will definitely enable airline companies, including Hong Kong Airlines, to provide better service and enhance customers' experience.
(HK Edition 06/23/2015 page7)