Hong Kong Airlines threatens to sue over “untrue and groundless” shutdown rumors

Photo: © Alec Wilson

Hong Kong Airlines has threatened to take legal action against anyone who spreads “untrue and groundless speculations” over the airline’s financial and leadership status, following recent reports suggesting that the carrier might be close to shutting down its operations.

The third largest airline of Hong Kong issued a statement, saying that it denies “untrue and groundless speculations about Hong Kong Airlines ceasing operation and applying for liquidation” and that it “reserves the right to take legal action” against anyone behind those reports.

This follows yesterday’s news that Hong Kong-based insurance company Blue Cross Asia-Pacific has stopped covering Hong Kong Airlines’ passengers in the event of an airline shutdown and resulting flight cancellations. The airline then claimed it doesn’t have a business relationship with Blue Cross.

Hong Kong Airlines faced several controversial problems in recent weeks. At least six board members, including both chairmen and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) left the company since July 2018. Hou Wei, former vice-president of Hainan Airlines, took over the chairman position at Hong Kong Airlines in November 2018. Ben Wong Ching-ho took over as a new CFO. Before, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the airline, according to the South China Morning Post.

The carrier was founded, and is controlled by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which also owns Hong Kong Airlines’ sister airline, HK Express, and China’s Hainan Airlines. HNA is facing financial problems with billions in debt (USD) and tried to sell parts of some of its airlines to other companies, in attempts to regain stability and reduce debt.

There is no data on profit or losses, as HNA Group and all of its airlines are privately owned and therefore do not have to disclose company and financial information.

Hong Kong Airlines was founded in 2006 and currently operates 43 airplanes, including 21 Airbus A330, six A350-900 and five Airbus A330-200F (as Hong Kong Airlines Cargo). Low-cost carrier and sister company Hong Kong Express operates 23 Airbus A320 family aircraft.