In the wake of its ongoing financial hardships, Hong Kong Airlines (HKA), Hong Kong’s third-largest airline, has been given a deadline to acquire additional funds or investors, or risk losing its license to fly.
The Air Transport Licensing Authority of Hong Kong (ATLA), the organization responsible for managing airline standards, determined that the airline’s finances have “deteriorated rapidly,” to the point that it no longer meets the minimum standard to have a permit. To that end, ATLA has given Hong Kong Airlines until Saturday, Dec. 7, to find new investors, or the company’s license could be suspended or even revoked.
“After careful consideration of the financial position of HKA at present, ATLA must take immediate and resolute action to prevent further deterioration of HKA’s situation in order to protect public interests,” ATLA said in a statement.
HKA’s money troubles stemmed from an attempted expansion project last year, which drained the company financially; and the ongoing civil unrest in the region, which has disrupted business for months.
In an attempt to offset its financial burdens, HKA has ended all long-haul flight services, and shut down its in-flight entertainment options. But despite these measures, the company is struggling to even pay its staff.
“Our operation is still running normally and we remain committed to flying our passengers to their destinations safely,” said Hong Kong Airlines in a statement. “We have addressed our financial situations by implementing cost-savings measures, while adjusting our operation from time to time to respond to changing market demand … As weak travel demand resulting from the social unrest in Hong Kong has continued to affect our business and revenue, Hong Kong Airlines has reduced its capacity and flights in the coming months, as well as further consolidated its network under the challenging business environment.”
Hong Kong Airlines executives have just a few days to save the company. If no additional funds or investors can be found, the airline’s customers and its 3,500 employees could be left in the cold, with just weeks to go until Christmas.