(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s High Court approved Hong Kong Airlines Ltd.’s HK$49 billion ($6.3 billion) debt restructuring plan, boosting the carrier’s chance of survival after years of financial turmoil.

At a hearing Wednesday, Justice Jonathan Harris said the court was sanctioning a so-called scheme of arrangements for Hong Kong Airlines. Counsel for the carrier, which is backed by bankrupt Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co., said there was no opposition to the plan. A court in England signed off on a parallel proposal last week.

“We are looking forward to activating the restructuring effective date before March,” Hong Kong Airlines Chief Financial Officer Jun Zeng wrote on LinkedIn. The airline will “continuously resume passenger flights in Asia Pacific Region, improve our service for travelers, and of course maintain a high-level safety score.” 

Hong Kong Airlines plans to jettison 33 aircraft from its 53-strong fleet, while HNA Aviation will oversee the issuance of new shares to an investor to raise about HK$3 billion for the airline. 

Hong Kong Airlines Seeks to Restructure $6.2 Billion of Debt

The carrier was struggling to repay debt even before the Covid crisis, when anti-government protests in 2019 kept visitors away from Hong Kong. Several of its aircraft were seized after a failure to make payments. The airline has scaled back operations, having flown to 34 destinations prior to the pandemic. 

The court approval is timely as the process of renewing Hong Kong Airlines’ transport license is due to begin this month. 

(Updates with comments from CFO in third paragraph.)

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