This quick update is one that I found kind of sad. Hong Kong Airlines flies to many regional destinations around East Asia, and they fly to many destinations in Japan that the Cathay Pacific group doesn’t. While Hong Kong Airlines doesn’t fly to Fukuoka, they fly to Kagoshima and Miyazaki, both of which are pretty big tourist cities in Kyushu. They also fly to Yonago and Okayama, which no other airline flies to.
Hong Kong Airlines isn’t worried about experimenting newer routes with lower fares and lower frequencies, whereas Cathay Dragon strives for consistency, so they won’t launch a route until they’re sure they can fly it at least four or five times a week. Unfortunately this means that there’s less demand for some of the routes that they fly. In the case of their two Kyushu flights this time there’s good news and bad news.
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A320 Taking Off Hong Kong Airport
The bad news is that as of October 28, 2018, Hong Kong Airlines is cancelling service to Miyazaki. Miyazaki Airport only has eight destinations, three of which are international – Seoul, Taipei, and Hong Kong. It’s somewhere near the stunning East Coast of stunning Kyushu, and while Miyazaki itself is quite nice, the real treat of the destination is that you get to drive down the coast, which you won’t be able to do anymore. If you don’t want to drive to Miyazaki, you’ll now have to transit through Taipei on China Airlines or Seoul on Asiana (given the flight times you’ll need a layover of at least 3-4 hours if you choose to fly Asiana, so you’re probably best off flying China Airlines).
The flight about to be cancelled currently runs on Wednesdays and Sundays as follows:
HX 648 Hong Kong to Miyazaki dep 11:00 arr 15:20
HX 649 Miyazaki to Hong Kong dep 16:20 arr 18:45
I’d argue that Hong Kong Airlines actually got some very valuable slots for this flight, as a morning outbound departure and an afternoon inbound departure to a shorthaul vacation destination is very desirable.
The good news is that Hong Kong Airlines is increasing their Kagoshima flight frequency from 5 times weekly to daily. Kagoshima is only a two-hour drive away from Miyazaki, so I’d say that Hong Kong Airlines isn’t losing too much here. While it’s nice to have a consistent daily flight to a vacation destination so people have more flexibility on their departure and arrival dates, at the end of the day those traveling to Miyazaki might just have two extra driving hours added onto their schedule.
The flights depart at slightly different times every day, though all depart between 11 AM and 12 PM (the return flights all depart between 4 PM and 6 PM). Here’s the Wednesday schedule:
HX 670 Hong Kong to Kagoshima dep 11:10 arr 15:25
HX 671 Kagoshima to Hong Kong dep 16:20 arr 19:15
As you see, the schedules aren’t far off from the Miyazaki flights, so these flights are also geared towards a similar audience. Both are pretty popular vacation destinations (Kagoshima’s more renowned), so I’m guessing Hong Kong Airlines can increase revenues operating more flights to an airport that more people have heard of compared to having sporadic flights to another airport that less people know of.
While Kagoshima Airport is also small, it serves a few more destinations (19, to be exact), and Hong Kong Express also flies a few weekly flights to Kagoshima.
For those wanting to explore Kyushu’s stunning east coast this is bad news, as you’ll have an extra couple of hours slapped onto your driving to and from the airport. However, I guess this is a smart move on Hong Kong Airlines’ part, as Kagoshima becomes a destination that the airline takes more seriously. Since Kagoshima is quite a popular tourist destination as far as Hong Kong-ers are concerned, Hong Kong Airlines might help in growing Kagoshima’s tourism industry, and soon might even start flying one of their bigger A330s there.
Have you been to Miyazaki? Are you sad that there will no longer be direct flights there from Hong Kong?