Hong Kong authorities have rejected Jetstar Hong Kong Airways application to operate flights from the city, due to its majority foreign ownership.
The joint-venture budget carrier between Australia’s Qantas and China’s Eastern Airlines has had its application denied after local carriers objected.
The start-up applied for the license in June 2013, though the licensing authority was forced to hold an inquiry earlier this year after Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair and Hong Kong Airlines objected to the application.
After the public hearings, the panel ruled that Jetstar Hong Kong “cannot make its decisions independently from that of the two foreign shareholders,” and did not meet the criteria to establish Hong Kong as its principal place of business.
In response to the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) decision, Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Affairs James Tong said: “It is the right decision for Hong Kong. As we said during the ATLA hearings, any airline with its principal place of business not in Hong Kong does not comply with Article 134 of the Basic Law. The ATLA decision ensures that important Hong Kong economic assets, its air traffic rights, are used for the benefit of the people and the economy of Hong Kong."
Formed in 2012, Jetstar Hong Kong had planned to start service in 2013 after initially acquiring a total of six planes, but it sold off all but one aircraft as the application process carried on.
Our analysis of OAG’s Schedules Analyser data shows that Cathay Pacific is currently the largest airline operating out of Hong Kong International, with a total offering of almost 1.1 million seats for the month of June this year. Interestingly, Dragonair and Hong Kong Airlines follow in second and third places respectively – the three airlines to reject Jetstar HK’s application are the three largest airlines operating out of Hong Kong International Airport.
China Airlines and HK Express are the fourth and fifth largest airlines operating out of Hong Kong respectively, offering 100,000 seats plus for the month of June. In 2010, Air China was the third largest airline operating from Hong Kong, whereas Hong Kong Airlines, which is currently the airports third largest operator, ranked 13th in 2010 in terms of departure seats in the month of June.
Emirates is the largest non-Asian carrier operating out of Hong Kong, followed closely by United Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Emirates operates a total of 55,485 seats out of the airport in June 2015, compared to 18,900 five years previous during the same month.