There were no water salutes, lion dances, ribbon cutting, speeches or
anything ceremonious to that effect when Greater Bay Airlines — a new
Hong Kong-based passenger carrier — flew its first passenger flight from
Hong Kong to Bangkok, and back again on Saturday, 23 July.
Jodie Lai, head of marketing and customer experience at Greater Bay
Airlines, told Nikkei Asia that the lack of fanfare for the airline’s
launch was made by the company itself to avoid organising any event that
may have resulted in public group gatherings, owing to the pandemic and
Hong Kong’s prevailing social distancing requirements.
Lai cited “commercial reasons” for not being able to share passenger
numbers. But local media reported that there were “only a few people
checking in at the counter”.
This was not what CEO Stanley Hui envisioned for the launch of
Greater Bay Airlines. Hui told Nikkei Asia that after two years of
preparations, the airline had to “start somewhere, despite knowing
passenger demand will be minimal,” despite the seven-day quarantine
requirement for arrivals in Hong Kong putting a damper on travel.
Greater Bay Airlines will rival Cathay Pacific for passengers with
significantly lower airfares, beginning with two commercial flights
every week between Hong Kong and Bangkok. According to SCMP, in the
coming weeks, Greater Bay Airlines has priced a one-way ticket from Hong
Kong to Bangkok at HK$957 (US$122), where as a flight to Bangkok on 6
August on Cathay Pacific would cost HK$2,206 (US$281), and HK$1,551
(US$198) from Thai Airways.
The airline is additionally looking at adding routes to Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and eventually China.