Cathay Pacific Airways is in “active discussions” with the HNA Group to acquire shares in low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express Airways and full service airline Hong Kong Airlines.
In a statement, the airline said: “Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (the “Company”) has noted media reports suggesting that the Company may be in discussions to acquire shares in Hong Kong Express Airways Limited (“HKE”) and Hong Kong Airlines Limited from HNA Group Co., Ltd.
“The Company hereby confirms that the Company is in active discussions about an acquisition involving HKE. No agreement for the acquisition has been entered into and there can be no certainty that any agreement will be entered into.
“Further announcement(s) will be made as and when appropriate.”
The move would give Cathay Pacific access to the ever-growing Asian budget market. There are a lack of slots at Hong Kong International Airport until the airport builds a third runway which is hindering network growth for airlines.
Cash-strapped HNA Group has been off-loading its assets over the past 12 months. Reuters estimates that any deal for Hong Kong Express could be worth about $300 million.