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Cathay Pacific hopes licence hearing ends on time

27 Jan 2003

Cathay Pacific Airways' witnesses today underlined the urgency for Hong Kong's Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) to complete on schedule its hearing into the airline's application for licences to fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. The hearing was also told that fares to the three cities would likely fall "within six months" if Cathay Pacific was granted permission to operate on those routes.

Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Planning Augustus Tang, in testimony to the Tribunal said: "Cathay Pacific's submission to operate the three points (in the Chinese Mainland) demonstrates our commitment and our firm view that it is urgent for Hong Kong as a hub, and it is also very important for Cathay Pacific, to plug our network into China so that we can attract passengers away from other airports."

Mr Tang added: "We are in an international global environment, and we are not only competing with local regional airlines, we are competing with international airlines."

The Tribunal was told that Cathay Pacific's presence on the Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen routes would soon result in lower prices charged to passengers.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales & Distribution Ian Shiu, in court testimony said: "If there is more supply...you have to adjust price to fit demand. The prices will go lower."

Asked when prices would go down Mr Shiu said: "I suspect within six months."

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, which opposes the licence applications, suggested that it may require more time than the allotted five days to finish with the submission of evidence and witness cross-examination - something that Cathay Pacific hopes does not occur.

The ATLA hearing, which continues tomorrow, is scheduled to end Wednesday 29 January.