Oneworld partners Qantas and Cathay Pacific are going head to head on the looming launch of Jetstar Hong Kong.
Qantas continues to walk the low-cost airline's latest offshoot towards a debut by the end of this year, but Cathay Pacific is lobbying the Hong Kong government to block the airline's launch by rejecting its mandatory application for an air operator's license.
Jetstar Hong Kong is a three-way partnership between Qantas, Shanghai-based China Eastern and Hong Kong business magnate and billionaire Stanley Ho, whose daughter Pansy Ho was last week named as chairperson of the Jetstar Hong Kong board.
The airline proposes to fly to China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam from its base in Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific sees Jetstar Hong Kong as a threat to both its mainline operations as well as undercutting regional subsidiary Dragonair.
However, Cathay Pacific has come under fire for hosting eight members of the Hong Kong Government on a six-day trip to France last week to take delivery of a new Airbus A330.
All eight members of the Legislative Council travelled with either a partner or a child with some taking Cathay-funded sidetrips to London and Frankfurt.
In a statement issued by Cathay Pacific, a spokesman insisted that there was no conflict of interest and the visit was intended to introduce its latest A330, while also providing briefings on the forthcoming Airbus A350s for which Cathay has placed an order of 46 jets with a list price of some A$11bn.
In the wake of criticism levelled against the lawmakers, at least six will now donate the cost of their partners' airfares – estimated at around A$7,000 – to local charities.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT