[ Airlines ] By Albert Kuan
Greater Bay Airlines will launch operations from Hong Kong
Greater Bay Airlines, a Hong Kong-based low cost carrier, has announced plans to start international flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok, Thailand, Phuket, Thailand, and Singapore. Three Boeing 737-800 passenger planes will be used to launch the startup's operations during the fourth quarter 2021.
In January 2021, Greater Bay Airlines applied for rights to fly 104 routes in Asia. However, nearly half of these routes were to fly to China mainland. Greater Bay Airlines was inspired by the rapid rise in domestic air travel in China after the advent of Covid-19 to establish a strong network that would fly to first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as smaller cities like Weifang or Yancheng.
The startup applied for flights to several cities in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and South Korea. The startup anticipates opening a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport in 2024. This will allow it to grow its network and fleet.
Greater Bay Airlines was named after GuangdongHong KongMacau Greater Bay area, a Chinese government-promoted area that includes the special administrative regions in Hong Kong and Macau as well as eight cities on the mainland. The Greater Bay Area is served by four major international airports in Hong Kong, Macau Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Macau.
Beijing hopes that the region will become more integrated economically to be China's answer to Silicon Valley. Hong Kong and Macau, which are part of the special administrative region, are already physically connected to mainland China via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Macao Bridge, high speed ferries, border-crossing facilities, and a highspeed rail line that runs from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, Beijing.
Bill Wong, a Hong Kong property tycoon, founded Greater Bay Airlines. He invested $258 million in the startup to finance a recovery of Asia-Pacific air travel in 2021. Greater Bay Airlines insists in press releases that it is a Hong Kong-based carrier. However, Wong is located in Shenzhen in China, which is next to Hong Kong. Wong's majority of investments are made in China, including Donghai Airlines, a Shenzhen-based domestic carrier.
Greater Bay Airlines hopes that it will facilitate travel within the region, and help investors recognize Hong Kong as an attractive choice for the development of the Greater Bay Area.
We believe the 55,000-square-kilometer Greater Bay Area will become a hotbed of financial and technological growth in the years to come, said Greater Bay Airlines in a press release. We aim to increase existing access to the region, providing quality passenger and freight services to its combined population (86 million).