Qantas CEO Alan Joyce this morning lashed out at the Hong Kong Government, accusing it of blatant double-standards that foster protectionism and unfairly insulate port carrier Cathay Pacific.

Mr Joyce said he was “extremely disappointed” by its decision, after two years of procrastination,  not to issue an operating licence to Jetstar Hong Kong, in which Qantas was a minority shareholder.

“I’m extremely disappointed and extremely worried about what that means in terms of protectionism,” he told the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit.

He said if Hong Kong applied the same rules to everyone, Cathay Pacific would not be allowed to fly.

“It’s all about the same rules being applied to all companies in the same market,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce said the weaker Australian dollar is igniting inbound tourism, contributing to a “dramatic turnaround” of the airlines’ international business.

It’s a trend he believes will continue with Qantas also optimistic of domestic leisure traffic growth with the airline recently strengthening its east coast leisure routes.

But it’s Asia where Mr Joyce sees the biggest opportunities.

Within a few years, he said, “Asia will be bigger than Europe and North America put together.

“That is amazing, amazing growth.”

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