Authorities begin hearing Jetstar Hong Kong application

An Airbus A320 in Jetstar livery in storage at Toulouse. (Gyrostat/Wikimedia)
An Airbus A320 in Jetstar livery in storage at Toulouse. (Gyrostat/Wikimedia)

Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority has commenced a hearing into whether Jetstar Hong Kong will be given a licence to fly.

The public inquiry was due to start at 0930 Hong Kong time on Friday morning, a statement on the Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau website said.

“The Air Transport Licensing Authority will hold an inquiry commencing tomorrow (January 23) at 9.30am to consider an application by Jetstar Hong Kong Airways Limited to operate scheduled air services,” the authority said on January 22.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced the proposed carrier in 2012.

Initially a joint-venture between Qantas and China Eastern, Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings was brought on as a local partner in 2013, meaning each party owned 33.3 per cent of Jetstar Hong Kong.

The airline is yet to secure an operating licence and has been forced to sell aircraft and park others while it waits to find out if it will be given the right to fly with access to local traffic rights.

Jetstar Hong Kong has met fierce opposition from local carriers Hong Kong Airlines and Cathay Pacific, who both argue the proposed airline does not meet the principal place of business requirements contained in Hong Kong’s Basic Law given all major decisions will be made by Jetstar’s Melbourne head office.

In response, the airline says it has local management, a Hong Kong chief executive and is run and managed by a separate board. Following a change to the shareholder voting structure in 2014, Shun Tak holds a majority 51 per cent of voting rights, with Qantas and China Eastern having 24.5 per cent voting rights. Ownership levels were unchanged at 33.3 per cent each.