A director of the Greater Bay Airlines, Stanley Hui, said the Hong Kong-based start-up carrier "surely" has the financial capabilities to develop, despite the unprecedented challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has posed to the aviation industry.

Hui said he sees substantial room for development, as Hong Kong remains an aviation hub under the country's plans for the Greater Bay Area.

"Our management...shares structure and overall planning all conform with relevant requirements for the Hong Kong aviation industry," Hui, who's also a member of the country's top advisory body, told RTHK on the sidelines of the ‘Two Sessions’ in Beijing.

"The most important thing of course is that we can organise [our business] smoothly, as well as in applying for the license to operate."

Last summer, the company – owned by East Pacific's Bill Wong – sought approval to operate more than 100 routes, months before regional airline Cathay Dragon ended its operations. Nearly half of the new carrier's planned routes would be to the mainland.

Hui expressed hope that the vetting could be completed by the third quarter of this year, so that the firm can start flying three of its aircraft by the end of the year.

Hui, who headed the Airport Authority and Dragonair before joining the Greater Bay Airlines, said his company plans to start hiring in the next quarter, which he said is great news to the troubled sector.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong's flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, reported a record HK$21.6 billion loss for 2020, a year that chairman Patrick Healy said had been the "most challenging" in the airline's 70-year history.

Source: RTHK