Hong Kong Airlines has confirmed it is dropping its all-business class flights between Hong Kong and Gatwick from September 10, in order to focus on a regional model within the Asia-Pacific region.
There had been uncertainty on the future of the route, with the carrier recently blocking out reservations on its website.
The airline has now released a statement confirming the suspension of the Gatwick route, citing “the continuing weak economic outlook in Europe, combined with the strength of the regional business within Asia”.
“We believe that a regional model focused on Asia Pacific is most appropriate for Hong Kong Airlines at this stage of our growth,” said Yang Jian Hong, president of Hong Kong Airlines.
“Our key focus will be building our regional network and strengthening our business across China, South East Asia, Japan and Korea. As part of this decision, we will suspend our long-haul flights to London from 10 September, 2012 until further notice.”
“Our plan is to redeploy the three specially equipped, all-business class A330’s which currently service the London route to charter flights following the suspension,” Mr. Yang added.
Hong Kong Airlines said it would provide “every assistance to its customers and the travel trade to arrange either rebooking or a full refund”.
The move is a blow to Gatwick airport, which also saw Kuala Lumpur-based Air Asia X drop its flights to the Sussex airport in March.
In recent times the airport has seen a growth in services to Asia, with new routes to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airlines, and to Seoul with Korean Air.