A new Start-up, Seaplane Hong Kong plans to begin sightseeing services and commute services around Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. If succeeded, the operator would become the first seaplane operator since the last operation in 1961.
A former local airline pilot and the first British-Hongkonger founded Seaplane Hong Kong to receive the Air League Duke of Edinburgh flying bursary. Steven Cheung is under preparation for the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) & License of Air Services. According to the corporate video, the newly formed airline will initiate sightseeing services within Hong Kong and expanding its operations into cities in the Greater Bay Area subjected to regulatory approval. Should the project receive the green light from the government, the investment will be sought for an initial 100 million as the initial funding, Cheung explained at the virtual press conference.
The company is aiming for sightseeing services around Hong Kong from just HKD250 (USD33) in phase 1 of their business. Additionally, Charter services – a new on-demand air taxi service – was introduced in the airline’s plan. Passengers are allowed to use mobile apps for calling Seaplane and travel between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay area by mid-2021. The aircraft are certified to operate in China. However, regulatory approval would be required, before commencing the regular commercial services out of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor.
“Seaplane Hong Kong has evaluated suitable spots for on the harbour’s perimeter aircraft are capable to operate”, Cheung mentioned, at the virtual press conference.
The company is targeted at using Vikings DHC-6 Twin Otter, a reliable general aviation aircraft popular in remote operation in North America with the capability of taking off with 1200 meters with 19 passengers and two crew. The range of 1,435 kilometers gives a suitable ability to serve the Greater Bay Area, and develop their proposed routes to Southeast Asia the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia by the year of 2022. The plan is preparing for getting their first two aircraft by the end of 2021 and targeted for a fleet of 28 aircraft by 2025. The aircraft will be configured with 19 passengers and two crew.
Seaplane in Hong Kong
This is not the first-time seaplane services have been running in the city. Hong Kong has a colourful history in seaplane operation. Scheduled services from Pan American Airways flew between Hong Kong and Macau as connecting flight for Pan Am’s Pacific routes. This seaplane route was the first American commercial service to operate between China and the U.S. before the WWII. The services continued after the war. However, they eliminated them after the jet age. The final flights were operated by the Macao Air Transport Company, founded by Sydney de Kantzow and Roy Farrell, which discontinued the seaplane routes in 1961 and continued to contribute to their other airlines – Cathay Pacific Airways.