HKEA backs down to stem 'drain on resources' ahead of spring launch Hong Kong Eagle Aviation (HKEA) has dropped its objection to a licensing application from Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, bringing the budget start-up carrier one step closer to a possible launch date early next year. HKEA, a shell company created by Macau Eagle Aviation, the parent of Macau's low-cost start-up airline Wow!Macau, joined forces in June with local carrier CR Airways to lodge an objection to Oasis' application for route rights to Europe and the United States, citing procedural abnormalities. But HKEA's management has backed down, leaving CR Airways as the sole objector. A hearing has been scheduled for November 5. '[The objection] was becoming a drain on our management resources, especially as we are preparing to launch services from Macau in the late spring,' a Macau Eagle spokesman said from the former Portuguese colony yesterday. The two airlines are racing to beat each other to market with similar low-cost products in Hong Kong and Macau. Both intend to deviate from the traditional low-cost operating model by offering long-haul services to European markets such as Milan. They also look to widen their potential revenue stream by catering to air freight, a sector other budget airlines such as Ryanair and Air Asia have ignored. The airlines had objected to Oasis' request for route rights - it wants to fly to Milan, London (Stansted), Cologne, Chicago and Oakland - because they felt the application process had been fast-tracked in Oasis' case. The traditional process requested airlines to obtain an air operator's certificate before applying for route licences whereas Oasis was allowed to apply for both in parallel. At an Open Skies seminar hosted by the South China Morning Post last week, Oasis chief executive Stephen Miller said he thought the objections were frivolous. 'I have no quibble with the parallel process. It seems to be very fair,' Mr Miller told the delegates. 'The only caveat ... is that there are objectors to this process. Anybody, any man and his dog [can object]. One of the companies that has objected to our route application is a $2 Hong Kong company [registered] in Western Samoa. 'We should have a more rigid examination of who the objector is and the merits of his objection.' Oasis had to delay a launch planned for the end of this year as the objection process runs its course. Wow!Macau, to be renamed after objections from Lufthansa's WOW cargo alliance, is fine-tuning its sub-concession to operate from across the border.