New Hong Kong budget airline applies for licence

AFP News

New budget airline Jetstar Hong Kong has applied for a licence to operate air services in the southern Chinese city, reports said Friday.

The Civil Aviation Department confirmed it had received an application for an air operator's certificate from the 50-50 joint venture between Australia's Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The application comes four months after the two airlines said they would launch a new Hong Kong-based budget airline aimed at cashing in on China's booming aviation market.

The application shows that the airline meets all "necessary regulatory requirements," and that "its principle place of business and centre of its decision-making is in Hong Kong itself", Jetstar said on its website.

"Jetstar Hong Kong is anticipated to add billions of dollars a year in economic activity for the city, as well as several hundred skilled jobs, by the time it reaches 18 aircraft in 2015."

Analysts in the Asian financial centre had expressed doubts that the airline could fulfil the requirements for a licence.

Qantas and China Eastern each have an equal stake in Jetstar Hong Kong and expects the new airline to have a capitalisation of around US$200 million.

Jetstar Hong Kong, which will be a pioneer in the China budget market, is aiming to launch in mid-2013 with a fleet of three Airbus A320s.