Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. is accusing Hong Kong aviation regulators of double standard after they denied an operating license to Jetstar Hong Kong, a joint venture by its wholly owned budget airline subsidiary.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the standard used by the Air Transport Licensing Authority on Jetstar’s application would have disqualified Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (00293.HK), Hong Kong’s dominant carrier, and Hong Kong Airlines Ltd.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal is reporting that Qantas is evaluating its next step including a plan to exit the venture in which it has invested A$10 million (US$7.36 million).
Joyce expressed concern about protectionism in the Hong Kong aviation industry, saying he was astonished by the unfair competition Jetstar faced in its license application, according to industry publication Australian Aviation.
He said Jetstar Hong Kong had been applying for a license for two years and was “absolutely clear” it complied with all criteria.
Qantas has low-cost airline ventures in Singapore, Vietnam and Japan.
A Cathay Pacific spokesman said Hong Kong is not the primary place of business for Jetstar, making it ineligible for a license under the Basic Law.
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