Hong Kong Airlines (HX, Hong Kong International) is considering opening up new routes and partnerships as it seeks to exploit the benefits of China's Belt and Road, an economic initiative which aims to boost China's trade with countries in Central Asia, the Middle East, Northeast Africa, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

“We are active in considering new opportunities to extend our network by doing it through our own fleet expansion, code-sharing or interlining arrangements, which put us in quite a good position in pursuing the opportunities that can be created by the Belt and Road Initiative," Tang King-shing, the airline's vice-chairman, told the South China Morning Post.

He added that many of the countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative lack direct flights to Hong Kong International, which could be a growth opportunity for the HNA Group-owned carrier. The largest countries along the route lacking direct connections to Hong Kong are Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Poland.

India and Kazakhstan may be among the new destinations for the airline, on top of flights to Malé which are scheduled to commence in January 2018. Hong Kong Airlines is also looking to expand its Indonesian network beyond Denpasar.

Hong Kong Airlines also wants to boost its presence in North America and Europe. It is launching flights to Los Angeles International on December 18 and to San Francisco on March 25, 2018, using A350-900 aircraft.

Belt and Road is a development strategy proposed by China's leader Xi Jinping which seeks to boost road, rail, sea and air connectivity between China and Europe in order to improve trade flows between the two. The programme is funded primarily through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) whose 56 member states range from China, New Zealand and Australia to Portugal, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.