HK budget airline’s first flight never leaves

Hong Kong’s first budget airline, Oasis, which touts itself as the world’s first long-haul, low-cost carrier never took-off.Originally scheduled to depart for London-Gatwick at 1 p.m. (6 a.m. British time), Oasis Hong Kong Airlines cancelled five-and-a-half hours later after the Russia’s aviation authorities refused entry.

One of Oasis’ two leased Boeing 747 jumbos was supposed to leave in the morning on its inaugural flight. The 300-seat plane was fully booked with tickets in economy class selling for $200 (£112) including tax.

“Our vision is to give Hong Kong high-quality, low-fare and direct flight services,” Oasis chairman Raymond Lee told Agence France Press.

The airline is going head-to-head with rivals Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic on the same route, all of which charge at least double the price for tickets on the same route.

Unlike many budget carriers elsewhere, Oasis offers business class (with tickets selling for $6,000) and two complimentary hot meals with tea, coffee and water. Other services are charged.

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Oasis will fly four times a week to and from London, with a daily service kicking off on November 25.

The airline plans to increase its routes and include Oakland, San Francisco. This service will begin from the first quarter 2007.

Oasis Airlines was set up last year by Stephen Miller, who founded Dragonair, which has since been bought by Cathay Pacific.

Miller received financial backing from Hong Kong investors including the Reverend Raymond and Priscylla Lee, who moved from the ministry into property development.


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