Jetstar Hong Kong one step closer to launching services

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The Hong Kong government has gazetted Jetstar Hong Kong's application for an air transport licence, taking the low-cost carrier a step forward in preparation for the launch of its Hong Kong-based operations.

Welcoming the government's move, its chief executive Edward Lau says: "We are building the foundations of our business with a great local team and proven Jetstar model. We are looking forward to take-off."

In the gazette, it shows that Jetstar Hong Kong has applied for routes to various destinations, including those to China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Following the gazette, there is a two-week public consultation period, before the regulators review comments received.

On 23 August, Jetstar Hong Kong also appointed Pansy Ho as its chairman.

Ho is the managing director of Shun Tak Holdings, which holds a 33.3% stake in the proposed low-cost carrier. She is also the daughter of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho. Jetstar Hong Kong's two other shareholders are Qantas and China Eastern Airlines.

Jetstar Hong Kong says Ho's appointment to its board adds "further Hong Kong expertise and leadership".

The carrier had first announced Shun Tak's involvement in June, days after the government said it was reviewing its criteria for local carriers. Prior to announcing the review, some government officials had expressed concern that Jetstar Hong Kong may not meet local ownership requirements to be designated a Hong Kong-based carrier.

Jetstar Hong Kong says it expects to contribute up to Hong Kong dollars (HK$) 8 billion ($1.03 billion) to the country's economy annually when fully operational and also create more than 1,000 jobs, including 600 direct local jobs, by the time the airline grows its fleet to 18 aircraft.

Jetstar Hong Kong recently released results of research conducted by the University of Hong Kong, on behalf of the airline, where a majority of locals surveyed said they would fly more if fares are lower and that they welcome more home-based low-cost carriers.