New startup airline Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) will not be able to commence commercial operations in October 2021, because Hong Kong aviation authorities have reportedly scheduled a “private inquiry” into the aviation newbie in late December 2021.
According to insider sources quoted by the South China Morning Post on September 8, 2021, the private investigation into the airline will be held by the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ALTA). The nine-member committee will analyze the airline’s submission form and its aim to become Hong Kong’s newest airline.
In the submission form for ATLA filed in January 2021, GBA officially applied for the right to operate 104 scheduled flights across Asia-Pacific.The airline applied for 48 destinations from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Mainland China. It also filed for routes to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and several countries of Southeast Asia. Most of the routes for which Greater Bay Airlines applied were left vacant after Cathay Dragon had been shut down as part of restructuring at parent company Cathay Pacific.
The new startup airline was initially expecting to commence its operations in summer 2021. However, approval for its Air Operator’s Licence (AOC) is still pending, meaning the air carrier could not launch earlier. Now, hopes for an October 1, 2021, debut seem to have been shattered once again.
GBA intends to launch with three Boeing 737-800 aircraft, one of which was delivered on September 7, 2021. According to the company’s website, the airline expects to operate 10 Boeing 737s in 2022, and more than 30 737s by 2026.
To date, GBA has hired about 20 cabin crew members. The number of cabin crew is expected to increase to 60 by the end of 2021 and to 200 in 2022. In addition, the company has recruited 15 pilots, including five management-level staff.
first aircraft B737-800 B-KJA for the new Hong Kong based airline Greater Bay Airlines left HAM today… pic.twitter.com/txRbG0SNJN— Dirk Grothe | Aviation Photography (@digro65) September 6, 2021