The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 one of the worst years in history for the global airline industry, with widespread layoffs, bailouts, and record revenue losses that are projected to continue into 2021. But the grim outlook for aviation is not stopping one Hong Kong airline start-up from making plans to launch by this northern summer.
Budget airline Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) applied for the rights to fly 104 routes across Asia, according to a Hong Kong government gazette.
Nearly half of GBA’s potential routes fly to mainland China, where domestic air travel rebounded quicker than regional peers and surpassed 2019 air passenger figures by September due to low COVID-19 cases. GBA’s mainland China destinations range from first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai to smaller, third-tier cities like Weifang and Yancheng.
The start-up also applied to operate flights to multiple cities in Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, and other popular regional tourist destinations.
GBA will start with 300 staff members and three B737 planes. It hopes to start flying by mid-2021 and aims to expand to 2,500 to 3,000 staff and 30 planes by 2025.
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