Oasis goes bust

9 Apr 2008 by Mark Caswell

Long-haul budget carrier Oasis Hong Kong Airlines has gone into liquidation, with all future flights cancelled. The airline, which launched in October 2006, has now been placed in the hands of financial services group KPMG.

No official explanation has been given for the move, but with the closure of several other airlines in recent months including all-business class carrier Maxjet, Aloha Airgroup and Skybus Airlines, it is likely soaring fuel prices will have been a factor. Oasis had been rumoured by the Hong Kong Economic Times to be struggling with up to HK$1 billion (£65 million) worth of debt.

The final Oasis flight arrived in Hong Kong from London at around 0700 today (April 9), leaving passengers stranded. Cathay Pacific is offering to transport these passengers for a special one-way economy fare of £160 on the Hong Kong-London route, where availability permits, and eligible Oasis ticket holders should phone the Cathay Pacific hotline on +44 (0)20 8834 8893.

British Airways is also offering customers booked to travel with Oasis a one way fare of HKD1,250 (either direction and excluding taxes) to or from London in its World Traveller cabin for all departures up to April 30, 2008. Tickets are available for purchase by contacting the BA Hong Kong office directly on 2822 9000.

Oasis was well known for offering low-cost tickets from Hong Kong to London for as little as £65 (before tax), undercutting Cathay by around 20 per cent in its early days. The company had been operating daily on this route as well as serving Hong Kong-Vancouver six times a week. But judging by this experience it would seem that the budget concept may not be viable on long-haul flights.

The demise of Oasis means that direct flights to Hong Kong will no longer be available from London Gatwick so Heathrow will be the only London departure point. It also means there will be fewer budget seats on the market especially in business class, because although Oasis economy fares may not have been substantially cheaper than its competitors BA, Cathay Pacific and Virgin, its business class seats were significantly discounted.

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Report by Jenny Southan

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