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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
HK budget airline stays grounded
Oasis Airlines' Chief Executive Stephen Miller
Oasis Airlines' Stephen Miller plans to take on big carriers
The inaugural flight of Hong Kong's first budget airline, Oasis, has failed to make it off the ground.

The flight to London Gatwick was meant to leave at 1300 local time (0500 GMT), but was delayed after Russia held back its right to overfly Russian territory.

After hours of delay, passengers on the fully-booked flight had to disembark.

Unlike many low-cost carriers Oasis offers food and intends to concentrate on long-haul routes - assuming it makes it into the air on Thursday.

Seats in economy class cost from US$200 (112) including tax.

The airline also offers a business class, which it says is cheaper than economy on established airlines.

However, environmental groups have expressed concern about the trend of budget long-haul flights, and say that low-price fares do not reflect the true cost of the environmental damage they cause.

Shake-up promised

Oasis Airlines was set up last year by Stephen Miller. He had earlier founded Dragonair, an airline since bought out by Hong Kong's main carrier, Cathay Pacific.

For his new venture he received financial backing from Hong Kong investors including the Reverend Raymond and Priscylla Lee, who had moved long ago from ministry into property development.

Oasis promises to shake up the airline industry in Hong Kong and beyond as the first budget carrier to focus only on the long haul.

After a few months flying to London, Oasis plans to fly to the US and to destinations in Europe such as Berlin and Milan.

On the London route alone, Oasis will spark direct competition with Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Airlines.

Industry experts say prices across the board will have to be lowered.

Why environmentalists are opposed to the flights

Regions and territories: Hong Kong
17 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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