Greater Bay Airlines Receives Designation From Hong Kong

On the 24th of May, Greater Bay Airlines in Hong Kong issued a press release stating they had been granted the title of a designated airline of Hong Kong.

The press release was issued on Tuesday the 24th from Greater Bay Airlines via email to publicists to announce its status as a designated airline under the air services agreements with various regions and countries. Authorised by the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Government and granted by the Transport and Housing Bureau of Hong Kong, the recognition marks another milestone for GBA to gain its first scheduled flight. The approval of GBA as a designated airline denotes it has met the operational requirements as an established airline in Hong Kong; this allows GBA to begin the application process for overseas routes and slots.

Boeing 737 Hong Kong GBA
Greater Bay Airline’s first 737-800 in Hong Kong International Airport.

The CEO of Greater Bay Airlines, Algernon Yau, also former CEO of Cathay Dragon, states:

With the designation, GBA can now proceed with overseas’ regulatory application for the operations of scheduled services. We look forward to the inauguration of our service soon.

The designation marks a milepost for the start-up airline in the worst plight yet in the history of Hong Kong Aviation. Earlier this year, in February, GBA was granted the “license of air services” by the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) of Hong Kong for its right to operate in Hong Kong as a base of operation. Later in the month, GBA was also granted the “slots” to operate to and from 104 destinations formerly owned by Cathay Dragon, after Cathay Pacific announced its demise as part of the restructuring plan due to Covid-19.

Hong Kong International Airport Terminal
Hong Kong Internation Airport has experienced a drastic decline in passenger numbers | © Diego Delso

Greater Bay Airlines till now

GBA currently operates 2 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and is expecting to receive its third 737 in July. Whilst stating it is not a Low-Cost Carrier, GBA aims to offer low fares with various add-on options for individual passengers. In an earlier interview on Radio Television Hong Kong(RTHK), Algernon Yau stated GBA is planning to launch by the summer of 2022, with the airline still deciding between the Boeing 737 or the Airbus 320 family.

HKIA aircafts parked
The controversial route-specific isolation scheme hinders airlines to re-establish flights to Hong Kong | ©forbes

Route Specific Isolation Scheme still Intact

With most Asian countries opening up to travelers, Hong Kong had not issued any schedules for its reopening under China’s COVID Zero policy. Under the route-specific flight suspension scheme, any airline from the same origin would have the scheduled flight suspended for five days if 5 of the arriving passengers tested positive during the quarantine period. Earlier in April, The Hong Kong Government had stated the isolation scheme would be adjusted on the 1st of May; however, with much controversy, the scheme remains in effect.

With Cathay Pacific having almost half of its fleets parked and the fledging carrier GBA still on the ground, there seem to be no signs of light for Hong Kong’s aviation with the current border policies. Would Greater Bay Airlines still be able to launch in summer 2022 as scheduled? Let us know below.

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Leo Cheung
Leo Cheung
Aviation Reporter - Born and raised in Hong Kong, Leo has decided to pursue a career in aviation under the influence of the old Kai Tak Airport back in the days. With a degree in aviation, he has joint Travel Radar as an aviation reporter to diversify his views and apply professional knowledge to anyone who is interested in commercial aviation. He regularly contributes articles with 'inside the cockpit' knowledge.

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