The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved a codeshare between Hong Kong Airlines and Etihad Airways on two intercontinental services from Hong Kong to San Francisco International (SFO) and Los Angeles International (LAX) airports.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is expected to place its EY code on the two services operated by Hong Kong Airlines. Both carriers are expected to enhance their flight connectivity between the Middle East, Asia and Europe through the new codeshare deal.

Hong Kong Airlines began Airbus A350 flights to Los Angeles December 2017 and launched service to San Francisco March 25, 2018. Etihad cut its service to San Francisco and reduced flight frequencies to Los Angeles from daily to 3X-weekly flights.

Hong Kong Airlines and Etihad began codesharing in 2014. Under the agreement, Etihad placed its code on flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok and Okinawa, Japan. In return, Hong Kong Airlines placed an HX code on Etihad Airways’ triple-daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Bangkok, with two additional routes connecting Abu Dhabi to Madrid starting March 29, 2015 and to Hong Kong beginning June 15, 2015.

In recent years, Hong Kong Airlines has committed to rapid international expansion as a part of its strategic transformation from a regional to an international carrier.

The Hong Kong-based carrier plans to open new service to New York and London this year in addition to its San Francisco service opened last month.

“Our performance on long-haul international routes will be one of the important indicators to evaluate whether our transformation is successful or not,” Hong Kong Airlines president Wang Liya was quoted as previously saying.

Hong Kong Airlines has 37 aircraft in its fleet, comprising 20 A330 family aircraft, 11 A320 passenger aircraft, two A320 freighters and four A350-900s. The carrier plans to expand its fleet to 50 aircraft in 2019 and is scheduled to put all its ordered (21) A350s in place by 2020 to facilitate its international expansion.  

In 2017, the carrier transported more than 7 million passengers, up 9% over 2016, and boosted its share of the Hong Kong market to 10% from 9.07% in 2016.