A new mainland China-backed carrier has applied to Hong Kong’s civil aviation authority to become the city’s fifth passenger airline, in an attempt to loosen the Cathay Pacific Group’s dominance.
Greater Bay Airlines is a rare newcomer in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought international air travel to a standstill, crippling the aviation industry across the world.
The Civil Aviation Department confirmed that Greater Bay Airlines Company Limited’s application for an air operator’s certificate (AOC) was submitted to it last month and was being processed.
It could be at least two years before the airline clears all the regulatory red tape to fly, an expert on Hong Kong aviation said.
The key man behind the venture is mainland property tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau, who has been dubbed “Shenzhen’s Li Ka-shing” after one of Hong Kong’s richest men, and already runs Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines.
The new airline is believed to be looking at operating on a low-cost model mainly with flights between China, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia, according to an industry source familiar with the plans.
The source said the airline intended to use Boeing 737 aircraft. Donghai Airlines uses 23 older-generation 737s and has ordered 25 737 MAX aircraft.
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