Jetstar Hong Kong launch delayed to H2 2013

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The launch of Jetstar Hong Kong has been pushed back by up to six months, as the carrier continues to await approval from the Hong Kong government.

The carrier applied for its air operator's certificate in July last year, but has yet to receive approval. It is now expecting to start operations only in the second half of 2013, says a Jetstar spokeswoman.

In February, China's ministry of commerce cleared China Eastern Airlines and Qantas Airways' proposal to set up a joint venture carrier in Hong Kong.

Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka reportedly told the American Chamber of Commerce that the launch of Jetstar Hong Kong, initially scheduled for mid-2013, has been held up because of the changeovers in the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.

The carrier's first routes have not been decided, but it is considering options within a five-hour radius from Hong Kong including Japan and mainland China, says the spokeswoman.

She adds that the airline will begin operations with three Airbus A320s, with plans to grow its fleet to 18 aircraft by 2015.

Jetstar Hong Kong has in recent months appointed top executives, including chief executive Edward Lau and chief financial officer Howard Cheung.