The Greater Bay Airlines is looking to launch within the first quarter of 2022, confirmed CEO Algernon Yau in an interview with the South China Morning Post. According to the report, the delay occurs due to “process and procedure” holding back operations.
The airline looks to fill a gap which was left gaping by the closure of regional carrier Cathay Dragon. Meanwhile competitors such as Cathay and Hong Kong Airlines have urged authorities to rethink if a new entrant was a good idea as the travel industry continues to be hit by the turbulent nature of the pandemic, said the report.
The airline’s name looks to show Beijing’s efforts to develop the Greater Bay Area project with the integration of Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and eight other cities. It is looking to take the lion’s share of the market for short-haul routes between Hong Kong and the Mainland and Southeast Asia. It was established in response to the Central Government’s national strategy for developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the integration of Hong Kong into Chinese Mainland’s overall development. According to the brand, the completion of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) by 2024 will further strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international aviation hub and as a connecting point into the Greater Bay Area.
The first aircraft model of the Greater Bay Area Airline was the Boeing 737-800. It has a simple and clear design with a white background, and the words "Greater Bay Area" and "GREATER BAY AIRLINES" printed in a darker shade of blue. The wings and tail on both sides carry the English abbreviation "GBA" of Greater Bay Area Airlines printed in white which according to the airline, not only presents a unique temperament, but also makes passengers feel like they are in the sky as soon as they board the plane.
Last October, given the unfortunate travel circumstances, Cathay Pacific announced a corporate restructuring that saw the closure of operations of its Cathay Dragon subsidiary. As early as February 2020, the brand stopped running around 90% of its China-bound flights for an initial two months citing due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, which heavily hit customer demand.
With travel uncertainties still looming, Cathay Pacific said it lost about HK$7.56 billion in H1 2021 as its business was still severely impacted by the pandemic and virus variants. To tackle the grounding of many of its operations, Cathay Pacific launched the Cathay premium travel lifestyle brand that offered a new range of offers in dining, shopping, hotels, and wellness.
Meanwhile in June this year, the financially-beleaguered Hong Kong Airlines also saw a new round of job cuts with nearly two-third of its employees being made redundant or required to take a significant pay cut to keep their jobs. The HNA Group-owned airlines made an official announcement where it said some 700 Hong Kong-based and overseas employees were made redundant commencing yesterday. Affected employees will be compensated according to their conditions of service and in compliance with local labour laws.
Senior management took a pay cut as high as 36%. Asked about how the marketing department of the airline will be affected, Hong Kong Airlines did not answer the question. The company said, "Hong Kong Airlines is in a critical survival mode. To secure our future, it is imperative for us to transform into a leaner and more efficient organsation now to ensure that we can continue to operate sustainably in the challenging years ahead."
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