Fact check: Cathay v Oasis
24 April 2008

In SCMP's coverage of the provisional liquidation of Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Ltd (Oasis), the paper wrote on 10-Apr-08:

"Cathay had earlier objected to the airline's application for an air operator's certificate from the Civil Aviation Department"

and in another article the same day:

"Cathay Pacific...opposed Oasis' attempt to enter the market."

This prompted Tony Tyler, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (Cathay, 00293), to write in the SCMP's letters column on 11-Apr-08:

"We never objected to any of Oasis' applications"

Um, that's not quite true, is it Tony? While SCMP's first statement was false, it wasn't far off the mark, and the second one was true. Fact: Cathay opposed Oasis' application to the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) for Air Services Licences (to provide service on particular routes) on the grounds that Oasis must first acquire an Air Operator's Certificate before applying for licenses. ATLA rejected Cathay's submission in its judgement published on 30-Nov-05, in which Cathay is named as the "Opponent".

At that time, Cathay's spin machine called it's opposition a "representation" rather than an "objection", but the practical effect of Cathay's opposition to the application was to delay the issue of licenses, which were first applied for on 26-Apr-05, until the ATLA ruling on 30-Nov-05. Two other companies formally objected, but withdrew their objections before the hearing.

Mr Tyler concluded:

"We take no pleasure from the demise of an airline, as we believe competition is good for the aviation industry, as it is for all businesses"

Spare us the crocodile tears, Mr Tyler. Competition is of course good for consumers, but bad for business owners, as any self-respecting member of Hong Kong's cartels will tell you.

© Webb-site.com, 2008

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