Jetstar Hong Kong 'hopeful' of AOC approval

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Jetstar Hong Kong says it is "hopeful" of having its application for an air operator's certificate (AOC) approved soon, as its shareholder disclosed a $60 million loan to the yet-to-become operational carrier.

China Eastern Airlines said in a disclosure to the Hong Kong Exchange on 4 June that its board has approved a shareholder’s loan of $60 million through its wholly-owned company Eastern Air Overseas to Jetstar Hong Kong.

When contacted, Jetstar Hong Kong would not say how the loan will be used.

Its chief executive Edward Lau would only tell Flightglobal: “Jetstar Hong Kong has the strong support of our shareholders as we move through the regulatory approval process towards launch, (we) however do not comment about financial arrangements.There is no change to the equity structure of Jetstar Hong Kong.”

A spokeswoman says the carrier has six Airbus A320s in storage. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that the aircraft are owned by Qantas Airways. Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka had however previously said that the Qantas group has no direct liability for the A320s on order for Jetstar Hong Kong.

Asked about its AOC application status, the spokeswoman says the carrier “is still progressing through the regulatory process”.

“While we don’t take anything for granted, we are hopeful of license approval soon,” she adds.

Jetstar Hong Kong is a joint venture between Qantas Airways, China Eastern and Hong Kong conglomerate Shun Tak Holdings. It has said that each shareholder will commit $66 million to the carrier’s capitalization, payable in a series of tranches.

The proposed carrier faced objections from the onset with Hong Kong carriers arguing that it does not meet regulatory requirements. They claim that ultimate control of the carrier lies in Australia.