Cathay Pacific has announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase low-cost airline Hong Kong Express Airways (HK Express) for HK$4.93 billion (£4.75 million)

A notice to shareholders said the purchase would be made in cash and through promissory loan notes.

The sale is subject to approval from competition authorities, and once it is complete – by the end of the year, according to Cathay Pacific – HK Express will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.

The acquisition means Cathay Pacific now owns three of Hong Kong’s four airlines.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific said the company intends to continue running HK Express as a stand-alone carrier. “The transaction represents an attractive and practical way for the Cathay Pacific Group to support the long-term development and growth of its aviation business and to enhance its competitiveness.”

The announcement comes after Cathay Pacific returned to profitability in 2018 through cost-cutting measures following two years of losses. The airline also suffered a data breach affecting up to 9.4 million passengers’ personal information.

HK Express recently underwent a rebrand across its website, mobile app and “key visuals”.

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