The Apprentice UK - Flowers
The Palazzo - binoculars required

Did Cathay try to stop Oasis getting a licence?

I know I'm very late on this one, but having followed the rise and fall of Oasis I was interested by this fact check from David Webb, in response to a letter in the SCMP by Tony Tyler of Cathay Pacific, who wanted to assure everyone that (ahem) Cathay welcomed competition and claimed that "We never objected to any of Oasis' applications".  David Webb thinks otherwise:

Um, that's not quite true, is it Tony? While SCMP's first statement [that Cathay had earlier objected to the airline's application for an air operator's certificate from the Civil Aviation Department] was false, it wasn't far off the mark, and the second one ["Cathay Pacific...opposed Oasis' attempt to enter the market"] 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.

Cathay knew that "making representations" might have had the effect of delaying the issue of a licence to Oasis, and must have known that this would not be helpful to a potential competitor.  Oasis duly put this forward as one of the explanations for their cashflow problems, claiming that a deal they had to lease some aircraft fell through and they were forced to buy instead. 

Does any airline really genuinely welcome competition?  I doubt it.


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