Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 14610021
Project Title(English) : State Ownership of Airlines: Legal and Policy Implications for International Aviation Hubs in Asia 
Project Title(Chinese) : 航空公司的國家所有權:對亞洲航空港的法律和政策影響 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof Lee, Jae Woon 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :  
Department : Faculty of Law
Institution : The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Prof Yoon, Seung Young
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exercise Year : 2021 / 22
Fund Approved : 523,485
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 29-2-2024
Abstract as per original application
Aviation is one of only two sectors, the other being finance, in which Hong Kong’s policy goal is clearly defined in its Basic Law. Art 128 of the Basic Law states that “the Hong Kong Government shall provide conditions and take measures to maintain the status of Hong Kong as a centre of international and regional aviation.” The Central Government’s Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (2019) re-emphasized Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub. However, the year 2020 unexpectedly started with the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a serious impact on the airline industry (among many others), and Hong Kong is no exception. In response to the pandemic, many governments have developed bailout plans to save their flag carriers by becoming shareholders in them, including the Hong Kong Government’s first-ever investment in Cathay Pacific. This proposed research project aims to analyze how state ownership of airlines carries legal and policy implications for Hong Kong and the other international aviation hubs in Asia. Similar to Hong Kong, the Korean Government decided to acquire a stake in its flag carrier, Korean Air, as a COVID-19 bailout while Singapore Airlines has long been majority-owned by the Singapore Government’s investment company, Temasek Holdings. To better understand the increasingly complex relationship between the government and state-owned airlines in the Asian aviation hubs, this project will investigate that relationship from three different angles: corporate governance, competition law and aviation policy. It will systemically answer the following three questions: 1) How does the government as a shareholder as well as a policymaker engage with the airline industry publicly and behind the scenes? 2) To what extent does the policy goal of an international aviation hub affect the enforcement of competition law on a state-owned flag carrier that often enjoys a dominant position in its market, and is that effect desirable or not? 3) How should Hong Kong deal with its ownership stake in the airline when designing and implementing aviation policy? This project will make a significant contribution towards enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub while presenting new insights into the city’s other legal principles and policy objectives. It will also offer practical implications for the other international aviation hubs in Asia. As the first legal research project to explore state ownership of airlines, its comprehensive analysis will have exceptional academic merit.
香港特別行政區基本法明確規定了香港兩個行業的政策目標,其中一個即為航空業(另一個為金融業)。基本法第128條規定,香港特別行政區政府應提供條件和採取措施,以保持香港的國際和區域航空中心的地位。中央政府發佈的《粵港澳大灣區發展規劃綱要(2019)》再次強調香港作為國際航空樞紐的地位。然而2020年伊始新冠疫情肆虐全球。新冠疫情對包括航空業在內的全球許多行業產生了嚴重影響。香港的航空業也受到了衝擊。為應對新冠疫情,許多國家的政府推出了救助計劃,以通過成為股東的方式來挽救其國家航空公司,其中包括香港特區政府向國泰航空的首次投資。該研究旨在分析航空公司的國家所有權如何對亞洲的國際和地區航空港產生法律和政策影響。與香港類似,韓國政府也決定通過收購其國家航空公司-大韓航空的股份的方式以救助其應對新冠疫情的影響。此外,新加坡航空長期以來由新加坡政府的投資公司-淡馬錫控股(Temasek Holdings)擁有大部分股權。為了更好地理解日益複雜的政府與亞洲航空港中國有航空公司的關係,本項目將從三個不同的角度進行分析:1)政府,作為投資者和政策制定者,如何公開以及在幕後與航空公司進行互動? 2)對通常享有市場支配地位的國有國家航空公司而言,國際航空港的政策目標將在多大程度上影響競爭法的實施以及這種影響是否可取? 3)在設計和實施航空業的政策時,香港特區政府應該如何處理其對航空公司的所有權問題?這一研究項目將為加強香港的國際航空港地位作出重要貢獻,並提供關於香港的其他法律原則和政策目標的新見解。同時,該研究也將對其他亞洲國際航空港產生實際的影響。作為第一個探索航空公司的國家所有權的法律研究項目,其綜合分析具有突出的學術價值。
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