By default HttpAsyncClient permits only two concurrent connections to the same host per RFC 2616 specification. This limit has nothing to do with the number of i/o dispatch threads used internally by the i/o reactor.
The code above will create two outgoing connections at most.
HTTP message pipelining has nothing do with connection persistence per se, though pipelined request execution implies the use of persistent connections.
HTTP pipelining is about message sequencing. HttpAsyncClient in the pipelining mode can send multiple requests without waiting for each response.
C -> request1 -> S C <- response1 <- S C -> request2 -> S C <- response2 <- S
C -> request1 -> S C -> request2 -> S C <- response1 <- S C <- response2 <- S