Hong Kong Express (Hong Kong Int’l) has pulled the last of its A321-200s out of the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) long-term storage facility at Alice Springs. The low-cost subsidiary of Cathay Pacific had 10 of the jets parked in the Australian desert but began the process of returning them to Hong Kong in September.

According to ADS-B flight tracking data, the exit process began on September 6 when B-LEF (msn 07831) left Alice Springs for Hong Kong via Darwin. B-LED (msn 07729) followed on September 13. Three more A321s returned to Hong Kong in October, with B-LEB (msn 07403) departing Alice Spring on October 5, B-LEL (msn 08410) on October 11, and B-LEK (msn 08347) on October 18.

More recently, the last five A321-200s left the desert. On November 8, B-LEC (msn 07596) exited Alice Springs. On November 16, B-LEE (msn 07821) and B-LEH (msn 07929) returned to Hong Kong. B-LEI (msn 07969) left Alice Springs on November 22. The final aircraft, B-LEF (msn 08163) went back to Hong Kong on November 25. All of the ferry flights went via Darwin.

Earlier in the pandemic, Cathay Pacific Group sent scores of aircraft from its various airline brands down to Alice Springs, including Hong Kong Express A320-200s and A321-200s. All five of the A320s had earlier returned to Hong Kong and are now flying scheduled services. The ten A321s plus another that has been in Hong Kong for some time, B-LEG (msn 07872), are still classed as inactive.

According to ch-aviation PRO airlines data, Hong Kong Express is now flying to 14 destinations in seven countries and territories. Half of the airline’s 26-strong fleet of planes are now operating. At a November 25 analyst briefing, the group indicated that Hong Kong Express would return to pre-pandemic flying levels by March 2023.

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