Jan 25, 2021 05:24 PM

New Airline Rises from the Ashes of Cathay Dragon’s Demise

What’s new: Greater Bay Airlines, a new Hong Kong-based airline still in formation, is seeking approval from Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority to fly over a hundred routes between Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific, in a bid to fill the demand left by the demise of Cathay Dragon.

According to a notice from the licensing authority, the 104 routes that the airline is applying for would be used by aircraft carrying passengers, transporting freight and delivering mail. The spate of applications covers most of the 46 air routes that Cathay Dragon operated before it shut down last year.

More background: Cathay Pacific shut down operations of its subsidiary Cathay Dragon in October as part of a corporate restructuring prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, handing the operating rights of 46 routes back to Hong Kong government.

Greater Bay Airlines, which is expected to get up and running in the first or second quarter this year, will join the three major airlines in Hong Kong — Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong Airlines Ltd. and Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd., the last of which is a budget airline fully owned by Cathay Pacific.

The owner of Greater Bay Airlines, Shenzhen East Pacific Group Ltd., has set up two private airlines, Shenzhen-headquartered Donghai Airlines Co. Ltd. in 2002 and Donghai Jet in 2010. Bill Wong Cho-bau, the founder of East Pacific, said the new airline aims to have a fleet of 30 aircraft within five years, flying between cities in Southeast Asia and Chinese mainland. He is originally from South China’s Guangdong province.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Anniek Bao ( and editor Marcus Ryder (

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