Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is in talks to buy shares in Hong Kong’s only budget airline from Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, as Asia’s biggest international carrier seeks to gain a foothold in the region’s booming low-cost travel market.
Cathay is in “active discussions” about an acquisition involving Hong Kong Express Airways, the marquee carrier said in a statement Tuesday. There can be no certainty that any agreement will be entered into, Cathay said.
The stake purchase would give Cathay a critical foothold in the market for budget-conscious travelers that’s eaten into demand for some of its routes as it undertakes a three-year transformation program. Asia Pacific’s burgeoning market will probably see the largest increase in air traffic among regions worldwide, with almost 4 billion passenger journeys expected in the next two decades.
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