Having launched its first passenger service - between Hong Kong International and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - at the end of July, start-up Greater Bay Airlines (HB, Hong Kong International) has now obtained Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approval to start five routes to mainland China.

According to the ch-aviation capacities and ch-aviation fleets modules, Greater Bay Airlines currently operates two B737-800s and one scheduled route, to the Thai capital, 2x weekly.

The carrier is now also licensed to carry passengers and cargo between Hong Kong and both Beijing and Shanghai Pudong from October 1, up to 7x weekly each. Next will be Hong Kong-Hangzhou, expected to start at the earliest on February 1, 2023, while the inaugural dates for routes to Chengdu Shuangliu and Wuhan are anticipated as August 1 and November 1 next year, respectively.

According CAAC requirements, the airline will need to make various preparations before each launch including specific route details and take-off and landing times.

Greater Bay Airlines will face varied levels of competition on all five routes, the ch-aviation schedules module shows. Three carriers currently operate between Hong Kong and Shanghai - Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, and Hong Kong Airlines - while Air China and Cathay fly between Hong Kong and the Beijing metro area (specifically Beijing Capital).

Air China, Cathay, Hong Kong Airlines, and Sichuan Airlines all operate Hong Kong-Chengdu, while Cathay, Hong Kong Airlines, and Loong Air link Hong Kong with Hangzhou, but only Cathay Pacific operates Hong Kong-Wuhan.

Greater Bay Airlines secured its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in October 2021, but objections filed against it delayed its obtaining an Air Transport Licence. However, it finally obtained the permit in February 2022.