Jetstar Hong Kong has received backing from one of Asia’s wealthiest property and gambling tycoons, giving the airline greater certainty of approval by authorities to mount Hong Kong’s first locally-based low-cost carrier.
Stanley Ho, via his Shun Tak investment company, has taken a 33 per cent stake in Jetstar Hong Kong alongside Qantas and China Eastern, giving hope the airline will now finally receive approval to start flying by the end of the year. The stake is valued at $66 million.
However, start-up may still not be free of impediments, with the territory’s transport bureau undertaking a review of airline licensing and saying it would not grant any new approvals until the review was completed.
With the weight of Ho’s investment, however, Qantas is said to be confident of finally obtaining approval, commenting it is in “positive and ongoing dialogue with the regulator”. Jetstar announced plans for its Hong Kong operation in March 2012.
If approved, Jetstar Hong Kong would operate a fleet of 18 A320s in its first three years of operations. It will now likely compete with a newly-established subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines – Hong Kong Express – which is converting to a low-cost model for launch in September with five A320s.
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