Qantas and China Eastern Airlines have sold a stake in a planned budget Hong Kong-based airline to a local investor.

Hong Kong tourism, hospitality and property conglomerate Shun Tak becomes an additional investor in Jetstar Hong Kong in a move seen to help win an operating licence.

Shun Tak will join founding investors Qantas and China Eastern Airlines in taking a 33.3% share of the Hong Kong-based low-cost start-up.

The total capitalisation of Jetstar Hong Kong remains unchanged at up to $198 million.

Qantas has cut its initial planned equity investment from a maximum of $99 million to $66 million. China Eastern Airlines and Shun Tak will also contribute up to $66 million each.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce described Shun Tak as a well-established presence in the local market with a range of tourism and travel interests that align well with Jetstar Hong Kong.

“This adds to the strategic partnerships we have across Asia with companies that have chosen to invest in the Jetstar brand,” he said.

“There is clear potential for a local low cost carrier in Hong Kong to stimulate new travel demand, particularly given the proximity to mainland China and the ability to connect with existing parts of the Jetstar network.”

Since Jetstar Hong Kong was announced in March 2012, the airline has built up a local management team, started pilot and cabin crew recruitment and is “well advanced” in its Air Operators Certificate application.

Qantas which owns the Jetstar brand, has part shareholdings in three other Jetstar branded airlines in Asia – Singapore, Vietnam and Japan.