Hong Kong’s new carrier Greater Bay Airlines, which had hoped to begin operations in summer 2021, has yet to set the launch date for its commercial flights, a Reuters report indicated.
The news comes as Hong Kong keeps travel restriction tight due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a phone interview with Reuters, Greater Bay Airlines chief executive Algernon Yau said that requirements for two weeks of self-isolation upon arrival would need to ease before the airline can launch operations.
In late February 2022, Greater Bay Airlines received a license from the city’s Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA), allowing the carrier to formally launch scheduled commercial operations.
Greater Bay Airlines has been 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.
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 a fleet of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft. On March 15, 2022, Greater Bay Airlines received its second Boeing 737-800, registered as B-KBJ. Initially, Greater Bay Airlines intended to have seven 737-800s in service by the end of 2022 and more than 30 by 2026. However, according to the Reuters report, a difficult COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong has slowed the airline’s growth plans. Now, the carrier expects three 737s to operate by the end of 2022.
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.