An order for 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos worth about $3.8 billion has been made by Hong Kong Airlines.

The airline’s corporate governance head Kenneth Thong is reported to have said that the aircraft were needed to help boost the airline’s growth, particularly in the development of business-class services to Europe.

HKA has previously ordered Airbus A330s, which will be used for services between Hong Kong and several European cities.

Thong told Bloomberg television in Hong Kong: “We think the business connection between Asia and Europe is going to be very exciting for the next couple of years, after the current [economic] crisis is over. We are planning for the aftermath.”

The carrier is to launch all-business-class flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong from March 8 using an A330 with 34 lie-flat beds and 82 cradle seats with a 51-inch seat pitch.

The A380 deal is due to be formally confirmed on January 17.