HK budget carrier joins flights to nowhere trend
HONG KONG, Oct 17: Hong Kong's budget carrier HK Express joined airlines offering "flights to nowhere" on Thursday with an inaugural journey filled with media and influencers, sparking criticism from environmentalists.
The low-cost airliner, now wholly-owned by Cathay Pacific, has been grounded for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A preview flight carrying around 110 passengers took off on Thursday afternoon, circled Hong Kong and returned 90 minutes later.
With the aviation industry in deep crisis, several carriers -- including in Australia, Japan and Taiwan -- have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash.
But the carrier described the flight as a refresher for when travel restarts in earnest.
"You can see this as a warm-up exercise for passengers to get ready for the new normal," Iris Ho, public relations officer at HK Express told AFP. -AFP