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Hong Kong pair near China rights

Hong Kong authorities have taken the first step towards granting CR Airways and start-up carrier Hong Kong Express Airways traffic rights to operate to cities in China.

Hong Kong Express, which lodged its application with the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) in October last year, has been granted permission to transport passengers, cargo and mail from Hong Kong to select destinations in China. It is permitted to apply for rights to serve 15 cities in China from Hong Kong.

"With our licence we are well on track in preparations for taking delivery of our first aircraft in July," says Hong Kong Express chief executive Andrew Tse.

The airline is being established by helicopter operator Heli Hong Kong and will lease four Embraer 170s from GE Capital Aviation Services.

ATLA also this month granted CR Airways a five-year licence. The airline operates a Bombardier CRJ200 to Vietnam and the Philippines. It is now free to seek traffic rights to 10 cities in China.

LEITHEN FRANCIS/SINGAPORE

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