Hong Kong Airlines joins opposition to Jetstar Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Airlines and sister carrier Hong Kong Express have filed formal objections to Jetstar Hong Kong's application for an air operator's certificate.

The airlines refused to divulge any details of the grounds for their objections when contacted by Flightglobal Pro.

"We believe that the government will make the appropriate judgment based on the long-term development of local aviation industry and the overall economic interests of Hong Kong," a spokeswoman says.

Hong Kong Express is in the process of transforming into a low-cost carrier that will complement Hong Kong Airlines' full-service business. Both carriers are 45% owned by China's HNA Group, the parent company of Hainan Airlines.

Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair have vigorously opposed the Jetstar Hong Kong application, alleging that the carrier will largely be controlled by Jetstar's Australian head office rather than Hong Kong, as required under the country's basic law.

They also note that with the limited number of slots available at Hong Kong International airport, having a new low-cost carrier enter the market could have a negative impact on the local economy.

Jetstar Hong Kong is hopeful of receiving an air operator's certificate in the coming months and launching services before the end of the year. It plans to have a fleet of 18 Airbus A320s by the end of 2015.

Jetstar Hong Kong is owned by three equal shareholders: Qantas Airways, China Eastern Airlines and Hong Kong conglomerate Shun Tak Holdings.