AviationGreater Bay Airlines took off on its maiden flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on 23 July.

A new Hong Kong airline quietly takes off

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The new airline’s ticket prices are comparatively lower to that of Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways.
The new airline’s ticket prices are comparatively lower to that of Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways. Photo Credit: Greater Bay Airlines

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.

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