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APRIL 2021

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Pandemic delays Greater Bay Airlines launch by several months

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April 1st 2021

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Despite unavoidable delays caused by the pandemic, it remains all systems go for Hong Kong’s newest budget carrier, Greater Bay Airlines (GBA). Read More » Former Hong Kong airport authority chief executive Stanley Hui, a senior advisor to the airline, said the first of three 737-800s, secured in Europe, is in Guangzhou undergoing work to conform to airworthiness requirements. It is planned for a final proving flight in mid-September.

GBA’s launch had been scheduled for July, but was postponed because of delays in delivery of the first of the 737-800s from Europe so the carrier is now scheduled to take to the air in September or October. “Under COVID it has been extremely difficult to get people to go to Europe as the result of the pandemic that has restricted people movement,” Hui said.

“The aircraft was supposed to be delivered last November. It arrived in mid-February and was officially delivered to GBA in mid-March. But it’s OK. We have to make sure everything is done correctly.”

GBA, founded by property tycoon and owner of Shenzhen’s Donghai Airlines, Bill Wong, has applied to fly 104 routes: 48 to China and the remainder to Japan, India, South Korea, Guam and Saipan. Its initial focus will be China. First flights are planned from Hong Kong to Beijing and Shanghai. The application process was ongoing and there had been “no objections from anyone which is a good sign”, Hui said.

The start-up is considering adding more leased aircraft to its fleet through to 2022 and 2023. “Assuming everything goes alright this year with the licensing and the AOC (Air Operator Certificate), we should be looking at four to five aircraft in coming years every year. Hopefully, five years down the road we will have 25 to 30 aircraft,” he said.

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