Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) has issued a license to Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) allowing the carrier to formally launch scheduled commercial operations.
Under the new license, Hong Kong’s newest airline is cleared to operate to 104 destinations at unlimited frequencies from and to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) until February 20, 2027. The carrier plans to operate flights from Hong Kong to Mainland China, North Asia and Southeast Asian destinations.
“The Government believes that Greater Bay Airlines will provide more diversified air services to the market and will further strengthen the air transport connectivity between Hong Kong, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and other parts of the world,” according to the Hong Kong government’s statement.
The startup carrier, which had hoped to begin operations in summer 2021, said it hoped to start flying “soon” without providing more details.
“We look forward to the launch of our inaugural service soon,” GBA’s chief executive officer Algernon Yau announced in a statement.
On October 8, 2021, the airline received its air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) and became the eighth carrier in Hong Kong.
The airline currently has one Boeing 737-800 aircraft (registration B-KJA) in its fleet. According to the airline’s website, GBA intends to have seven 737-800s in service by the end of 2022 and more than 30 by 2026.
According to a Bloomberg report dated January 17, 2022, GBA is reportedly in talks with both Airbus and Boeing to purchase at least 30 narrow-body aircraft valued at $1.8 billion. Hong Kong’s newest airline is currently deciding between the Airbus A321neos or the Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets, the article said.
GBA is backed by Bill Wong Cho-bau (known as Huang Chubiao in Mainland China), who is also the founder of Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines.