Hong Kong-based Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) and Boeing have confirmed an order for 15 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

The agreement also includes a commitment for five 787-9 widebodies to support GBA’s long-term plan to launch international long-haul services.

The new Hong Kong-based carrier said the Max 9 will form the backbone of its future fleet as it seeks to operate more flights between Hong Kong and major cities in Asia and Mainland China.

GBA plans to leverage the Max 9’s enhanced capacity and range to lower trip costs and expand its network.

“The 737-9 will allow GBA to open up new routes from Hong Kong with unmatched economics,” said Wong Cho Bau, chairman of GBA. “The new order will bring fantastic growth possibilities to GBA and enable us to strive for excellence in an innovative way for our valued customers.”

GBA is an all-Boeing carrier currently operating a fleet of three leased 737-800 aircraft with flights to currently four destinations – Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul.

The airline also plans to bring in several additional 737-800s to meet its expansion needs before the arrival of the Max 9s.

GBA is run by Algernon Yau, a former Cathay Pacific senior executive who used to be in charge of Cathay Dragon, the regional subsidiary that was folded into mainline Cathay in late 2020.

“GBA’s commitment for 737-9s is a major endorsement of our 737 MAX family and its ability to serve new markets,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737-9 will provide GBA with unmatched efficiency and reliability and lower operating costs, while continuing to provide a premium on-board experience for its passengers.”

GBA commenced scheduled service in July 2022. It hopes to develop an extensive network of flights to major cities in Asia and Mainland China from Hong Kong, riding on the back of the opening of the three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport in late 2024.

The airline has been granted a licence by the local Air Transport Licensing Authority to operate more than 100 routes from Hong Kong. This will see GBA compete head-to-head with Cathay and its HK Express low-cost carrier.

GBA does not have a business class offering on its current 737-800 fleet although this is expected to change with the arrival of its Boeing orders, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific understands.