Founder of collapsed Hong Kong airline Oasis apologizes


Hong Kong – The founder of Hong Kong budget airline Oasis has apologized to passengers, staff and partners for the inconvenience caused by the business’ collapse earlier this month, a news report said Monday.

The Reverend Raymond Lee Cho-min said he was very sorry and that he had not given up hope that the airline could be saved.

Lee, the former chairman, said that his dream had been to make it possible for Hong Kong’s 7 million people to fly the world, when he founded the airline in October 2006.

The airline ceased operating after going into voluntary liquidation on April 9, with 700 employees laid off and more than 30,000 passengers left holding tickets valued at 300 million Hong Kong dollars (38.5 million US dollars).

Initially, Oasis chief executive Steve Miller said he was ‘very confident’ someone would come forward to take over the airline and save the jobs of its staff.

However, the airline’s huge losses and debts to creditors along with the uncertain industry outlook due to high fuel prices appeared to have put off any potential saviours.

In a report Monday in the South China Morning Post, Lee insisted that the model of the no-frills airline was not the cause of its collapse but that its failure was down to insufficient funding.

‘It needs at least eight planes to achieve the full potential of this operation model. Oasis had only four,’ he said. ‘We are very sorry for our passengers and commercial partners, but we hope to turn grief into action and seek to continue Oasis’ mission in the near future.’

Oasis caused a sensation in Hong Kong’s aviation industry when it began operating two Boeing 747 planes in October 2006, flying between Hong Kong and London.

Within a year, it had five 747s in operation and boasted that in its first year it flew 250,000 passengers between London and Hong Kong. It began flights in June 2007 to Vancouver.