Services to the new airport run by the MTRC and the major bus companies are facing fierce competition from hundreds of smaller operators. An Airport Authority spokesman said yesterday it estimated it would issue permits to 600 tour coaches, 150 hotel limousines and 150 minibuses. The authority is issuing permits for the vehicles to control traffic around the Chek Lap Kok passenger terminal building. Among the would-be competitors are three companies that have made approaches to offer regular airport services to groups of hotels. Hotels will not need to pay for the service but their signature is needed to secure an operating licence from the Transport Department. The department is trying to prevent them competing directly with Citybus and Long Win, the two companies given the franchise for airport bus services. Tour agencies have also been approached by a number of small bus companies wanting to offer special services ferrying local travellers and their families to the airport for a fee. Without their signature their services would be classed as 'public' and could not receive Transport Department approval. A Transport Department spokesman said it was processing several applications for hotel services. Hotels Association chairman Ivan Lee Wank-hay said the firms that approached his members were wanting to use deluxe 20-seat coaches to offer a door-to-door service with television, telephones and even hot towels for about $120 one-way. Mr Lee said that despite being $20 more than an Airport Express ticket to Central and a free shuttle bus 'it was very competitive'. 'Some guests want a door-to-door service without the hassle of moving their luggage from the train to the bus,' he said. Assistant general manager of Sincerity Travel Denny Chan Kam-chuen said the firm was negotiating with some coach operators who approached it. 'It will be a good business for the operators and make us more competitive,' he said. 'We are now finalising details such as the additional cost to tour members and the pick-up points. 'It should not be too difficult to do.' Mr Chan said the service would be exclusively for tour members and their families as regulations did not allow them to serve individual passengers.