Top News Emirates establishes return to Hong Kong market By Prudence Lui / Posted on 17 January, 2023 11:54 Emirates is ramping up flights to and from Hong Kong and boosting its manpower and sales channel there, keen to make up for lost time now that travel to and from the North Asian market has resumed. It deployed an A380 to replace the B700-300 for its Hong Kong-Bangkok-Dubai daily flight last October, and will add a daily non-stop service from its Dubai hub, starting March 29. When the latter commences, Emirates will operate up to 14 weekly flights for Hong Kong. Emirates enjoyed a strong December in Hong Kong Newly-appointed area manager Hong Kong, Nasser Bahlooq, said the airline has seen “very fast” progress in the market. December seat factor was well over 88 per cent, reaching 100 per cent for a few days leading up to Christmas. “It was our best months (in the last) two years. Similar trend is observed for the upcoming Chinese New Year as well,” he added. As it works to “strengthen the carrier’s position as well as revenue and profitability of (the) business”, Emirates will continue to collaborate with travel trade partners. Bahlooq has been engaging with Hong Kong’s top five travel consolidators, such as Lotus Travel, Four Seas Travel and Nan Hwa Express Travel Service which have strong access to smaller retail agents. It is also planning to reintroduce its retail office this year to complement other sales channels, and will reopen its revamped lounge at Hong Kong International Airport by the end of 2023. While Emirates did not make any staff redundant in the Hong Kong office throughout the pandemic, Bahlooq said global recruitment efforts are facing some challenges. The airline is looking to attract more pilots through its Accelerated Command programme, as well as more cabin crew and IT specialists. “We are the biggest operator of A380 aircraft, with 119 in operations now, and we are still working hard to resume service step by step,” he added. Emirates’ ongoing Fly Better campaign aims to retrofit 120 aircraft with Premium Economy seats. The plan is for 67 earmarked A380s to be refreshed and put back into service before starting work on 53 B777 aircraft progressively from 2024. Editor’s note: This has been updated with information on Emirates’ Dubai-Hong Kong direct service, which was announced the afternoon of January 17.