Flag carrier stands firm after a second airline drops its objections to newcomer Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday became the last carrier blocking Oasis Hong Kong Airlines' bid to become the city's newest airline after CR Airways withdrew objections filed with the licensing authorities. Oasis' application for route licensing in June originally drew complaints from three Hong Kong airlines. Hong Kong Eagle Aviation was the first to shelve its objection earlier this month. 'We have received a notification of withdrawal from CR Airways. The only thing outstanding is the representation from Cathay Pacific,' a spokesperson for the Air Transport Licensing Authority (Atla) said yesterday. 'In line with the previous directions given, a public inquiry will still be held to consider Cathay's representation.' Oasis has applied to launch direct flights to Milan, London (Stansted), Cologne, Chicago and Oakland at prices that could undercut legacy carriers by 25 per cent to 30 per cent. CR's move appeared to expose the inefficiency of the 20-year-old ordinance that governs Atla, an 'independent' quasi-judicial body that relies on the Economic Development and Labour Bureau for its secretariat. Unlike the other two firms that filed formal objections, Cathay filed a 'representation', ostensibly to register its opinion without formally 'objecting'. But under the Atla ordinance, there is no interpretive distinction between the terms and both require a hearing to consider their merits. 'We are unclear where we go from here,' Oasis chief executive Stephen Miller said yesterday. 'We were under the distinct impression that if there were no formal objections, our application must be considered uncontested. But that apparently is not the case.' The original hearing, set for November 5, had been delayed to the middle of next month, Atla said. Asked if Cathay intended to drop its complaint, a spokeswoman for the airline said: 'We will proceed with the representation.' It is believed the core of Cathay's representation was a recommendation that Oasis not be granted a licence because it had failed to follow regulatory precedent during its application process. The airlines objected to Oasis' licensing on the grounds that precedent had dictated that any carrier must first have an air operator's certificate before it could apply for specific route licences. Oasis, which has had to delay its launch from this month to early next year, was allowed to apply for both in parallel.