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Hong Kong has a new Airbus A321neo operator.

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific understands that Cathay Pacific subsidiary HK Express has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft.

Not only is the A321neo a new aircraft type for HK Express, but its delivery also kicks off the airline’s new corporate identity and brand positioning, including a refreshed livery.

Committing to returning operations to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the first quarter of 2023 with more than 400 flights a week, HK Express recently said now was an optimal moment to rebrand as consumers in Asia seize the opportunity to travel again.

“With a forward-looking brand identity, the new brand positioning – “Gotta Go” – aims to encourage spontaneity and invoke a new, free-spirited travel attitude, appealing to our target customer who is bold, dynamic and lives in the moment,” said HK Express.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific absorbed HK Express in 2019 when it became the group’s first low-cost carrier, like Singapore Airlines building the Scoot brand and fully integrating it into its mainline premium operations.

The first A321neo marks HK Express’ 27th aircraft. The Cathay protégé also flies 11 A321s, 10 A320neos and five A320s.

Cathay Pacific has confirmed that HK Express will receive 16 A321neos to 2025 – four in 2023, eight next year and the remaining four in 2025.

Cathay is set on further growing the HK Express and expanding its reach with longer stage flights including to additional destinations in Japan and to Singapore.

Media reports last week suggested that Cathay was in talks with Airbus to order up to 50 additional aircraft, including incremental A320neo and A321neo aircraft for HK Express.

Current HK Express destinations include 13 cities in Japan as well as flights to various cities in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

HK Express is currently not a Oneworld connecting partner, despite Cathay’s alliance membership, meaning no frequent flyer benefits will extend.