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June 26, 2015, 1:36 a.m. EDT

Qantas CEO scolds Hong Kong regulators

Traveling public is the loser in decision to reject budget-carrier application, he says

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By Ross Kelly and Chester Yung


Reuters
Qantas Airlines Managing Director and Group CEO Alan Joyce speaks in a panel discussion at the 2015 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Miami Beach, Florida, June 9, 2015.

Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas Airways Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205878984/delayed DE:QAN -4.46%  , criticized Hong Kong authorities for rejecting his plan to establish a new low-cost carrier in the Chinese territory.

“At a time when aviation markets across Asia are opening up, Hong Kong is going in the opposite direction,” Mr. Joyce said in a strongly worded statement Friday.

“Given the importance of aviation to global commerce, shutting the door to new competition can only serve the vested interests already installed in that market,” he added.

Hong Kong on Thursday rejected an application by Jetstar to set up a locally based airline, dealing a blow to the no-frills unit of the Australian carrier on its Asian expansion plans.

Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority, or ATLA, said Jetstar Hong Kong didn’t comply with a legal requirement that locally registered airlines have their principal place of business in Hong Kong, with management and control exercised within the city.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

/zigman2/quotes/205878984/delayed
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