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Cathay Pacific queries Dragonair figures in licence hearing

29 Jan 2003

Cathay Pacific Airways today questioned figures presented by Hong Kong Dragon Airlines to the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) hearing into Cathay Pacific's application for licences to fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Counsel for Cathay Pacific pointed out to the Tribunal that they differed greatly to those used by Dragonair for its internal purposes.

Mr Charles Haddon-Cave, QC, counsel for Cathay Pacific, queried a disparity between figures that Dragonair used in a model to estimate the impact Cathay Pacific might have on other carriers if it operates the three Mainland routes, and those contained in an internal Dragonair memo, dated August 2002.

Reading from the memo, which Dragonair handed to the Tribunal yesterday, Mr Haddon-Cave noted that Dragonair anticipates "...a growth rate of 18 percent for our (Dragonair's) Mainland passenger market in 2003".

Mr Haddon-Cave continued: "It appears to be (Dragonair's) internal assessment as to what the market is going to do in 2003...is twice the figure taken into account in (the) model."

Mr Haddon-Cave said the model that Dragonair presented to ATLA assumes a Mainland market growth rate in 2003 of only 9 percent.

Mr Haddon-Cave also challenged the other assumptions upon which Dragonair modelled Cathay Pacific's market impact.

He said: "All the assumptions (of the Dragonair model) which number seven in all...are completely arbitrary, they are totally crude, they are incomplete, they are self-serving and they do not begin to model reality."

The Tribunal hearing was scheduled to end today but was adjourned until 11 March so that Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, which opposes Cathay Pacific's licence applications, can conclude their submissions and cross-examinations.

Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development Tony Tyler, at the end today's hearing said: "We are looking forward to completing proceedings in March."