Hong Kong Could Get Another Airline With Startup Greater Bay Airlines

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An industry source via the SCMP believes that this startup will be operating on a low-cost model with flights mainly between China, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia.

The source adds that the airline intends to use Boeing 737 aircraft. This would be a similar fleet strategy to Donghai Airlines, which uses 23 Boeing 737-800s. Donghai also has 25 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order.

Industry sources note that this airline startup is likely to operate Boeing 737s. However, the 737 variant is unknown, as is the quantity. Photo: Getty Images

The Hong Kong aviation market

For a small Special Administrative Region, which in some ways acts like a city-state, Hong Kong has a disproportionately high number of airlines based at its international airport.

In fact, of the four passenger airlines currently in operation in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific controls three. These are: Cathay Pacific (mainline carrier), Cathay Dragon (regional affiliate to Cathay Pacific), and budget airline HK Express.

Separate from this group is HNA Group’s carrier Hong Kong Airlines.

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Cathay Pacific, as a group, controls three airlines. Photo: Cathay Pacific

A perfectly-timed move?

With many aviation experts predicting a two to three-year recovery to pre-pandemic levels, perhaps applying for an AOC now isn’t such an absurd move.

Launching an airline doesn’t happen overnight, and it may realistically take at least two years to obtain an air transport license, AOC, traffic rights, and landing slots. This is according to Law Cheung-Kwok, a senior advisor with Chinese University’s Aviation Research and Policy Centre who spoke with SCMP.

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