MIAMI – Greater Bay Airlines will likely not take flight in 2021, despite hopes for a symbolic October 2021 flight to Beijing to coincide with China’s National Day. Hong Kong authorities have reportedly planned a “private inquiry” into the city’s newest proposed low-cost airline, which isn’t scheduled to occur until late December 2021.

The inquiry will be instigated by the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA), with the nine-member committee set to analyze the fledgling airline’s submission form. The closed-door hearing will also include input from Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines, Greater Bay Airlines’ chief rivals in the Hong Kong market.

The news came just hours after Greater Bay Airlines’ first aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 decked out in the airline’s teal livery, touched down at Hong Kong International Airport on September 7.

“The first Greater Bay Airlines aircraft is on its way to Hong Kong. [This is] a key milestone in [our] airline’s history,” Algernon Yau, CEO of Greater Bay Airlines, said on social media regarding the new arrival.  

The airline submitted its form to the ATLA in January 2021, hoping to operate 104 scheduled flights throughout Asia and the Pacific. 48 of these destinations will be in mainland China, though the airline plans to operate service to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other destinations in South Asia.

Many of these routes were formerly served by Cathay Dragon (Dragonair) before the airline was shut down after its parent company, Cathay Pacific, restructured in October 2020.

Greater Bay Airlines previously planned to launch in summer 2021, but the airline is still awaiting its Air Operator License. Its plans for an October 2021 launch appear to have gone up in smoke as well.

The Hong Kong-based carrier hopes to launch with three Boeing 737-800s, with plans to expand to 10 Boeing 737s in 2022 and more than 30 by 2026.

Featured image: Greater Bay Airlines. Article source: SCMP.