Following in the fallen footsteps of Oasis Hong Kong (甘泉航空), the region may lose yet another budget carrier with the near collapse of Viva Macau (澳門非凡航空). The Civil Authority of Macau SAR (澳門民航局) has stopped Viva Macau from flying indefinitely until it can prove that its finances are sufficiently stable.
Ever since Viva Macau started flying to Sydney, I have known many people utilise this route as a cheap alternative to flying direct to Hong Kong. Even before this news broke yesterday, the Sydney-Macau route was to cease today with the last flight scheduled for March 28.
Since its inception in 2004, the airline has had to deal with a tough economic environment attributed to the global financial crisis. Viva Macau had received Macau SAR assistance to stay afloat before.
The airline’s latest financial woes came to light when flights were cancelled as a result of its inability to pay for petrol costs leaving hundreds stranded.
Apart from flying from Macau to (now axed) Sydney, Viva Macau also flies to Melbourne, Sapporo, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Jakarta.
As airlines go under, the questions start getting asked. Is the airline industry already sufficiently saturated? Could it be that they should have never started in the first place, or was it poor management during its operations?
For Sydneysiders flying to Hong Kong, the cheapest airline still appears to be Virgin Atlantic. Other airlines to choose from include Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
How about flying direct into Shenzhen or Guangzhou on a Chinese airline? If travel insurance could bring me back to life if my plane fell out of the sky, I might just consider it. Or have the standards improved greatly since?