Thursday, October 26, 2006

HK budget airline cancels inaugural flight to London

Flight not cleared to fly over Russian airspace; exploring routes over India
Hong Kong: In an embarrassing mishap, the inaugural flight of a much-publicized local budget airline was abandoned Wednesday because it wasn't cleared to fly over Russian airspace.
Officials at Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, however, insisted the delay of flight O8700 from Hong Kong to London's Gatwick Airport wasn't their fault.
The flight was scheduled to depart Hong Kong at 0500 GMT but after a five-hour delay was finally canceled. TV footage showed passengers milling around the cabin of the Boeing 747-400.
Oasis chairman Raymond Lee, who was on board, said the delay was due to a last-minute holdup in approval to fly over Russian airspace.
Russian aviation officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Lee said he was confident the flight could leave Thursday -- but as it still had no confirmation from Moscow, the airline was exploring alternative routes such as over India.
26/10/06 Dikky Sinn/AP/China Post, Taiwan