Hong Kong’s budget carrier HK Express joined airways providing “flight to nowhere” on Thursday with an inaugural journey crammed with media and influencers, sparking criticism from environmentalists.
The low-cost airliner, now wholly-owned by Cathay Pacific, has been grounded for months due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
A preview flight carrying round 110 passengers took off Thursday afternoon, circled Hong Kong and returned 90 minutes later.
With the aviation business in deep disaster, a number of carriers – together with in Australia, Japan and Taiwan – have been providing quick flights that begin and finish on the similar airport to increase money.
But the carrier described the flight as a refresher for when journey restarts in earnest.
“You can see this as a warm-up train for passengers to prepare for the brand new regular,” Iris Ho, public relations officer at HK Express informed AFP.
“Passengers haven’t been flying for therefore lengthy, and we would like to educate them with our preventive measures and new preparations on board.”
HK Express mentioned it might supply three “nowhere” flights in November at HK$388 ($50) – significantly cheaper than comparable sightseeing flights by different airways. Tickets have already offered out.
Passengers will likely be seated aside to make use of social distancing. No meals will likely be offered and all magazines are taken away.
The airliner didn’t reveal how a lot carbon footprint every journey by the Airbus 320 left behind.
But in accordance to Cathay Pacific calculation, an equal 90-minute flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan’s Kaohsiung emits some 0.06 tonnes of CO2.
Tom Ng, a campaigner from Greenpeace Hong Kong, criticized nowhere flights as “an pointless marketing campaign that solely harms the surroundings.”
“These flights serve no precise goal however solely losing vitality. They run within the oppositive path of environmental safety,” Ng mentioned, calling for the airliner to name off the longer term flights.
Singapore Airlines ditched an identical thought after outcry over the environmental influence.