MACAO, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The Government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) had requested for and obtained Air Macao's consent to terminate its sub-concession contract with Viva Macau to protect the public interest, the city's Tourism Crisis Management Office announced Sunday.
The President of the Civil Aviation Authority, Chan Weng Hong, said at a press conference held Sunday afternoon that the SAR government was greatly concerned with the negative impacts of the Viva Macao incident towards passengers and the community.
Viva Macao, a private budget airline, had delayed and canceled respectively its services to Jakarta and Tokyo on March 26 due to fuel payment issues, causing over 300 passengers to be stranded at Macao International Airport. More flights had been delayed or canceled the following day, causing more passengers stranded.
Chan said that since the Viva Macao flight failed to operate on March 26, the SAR government had tried to contact the airline and urge it to fulfill its commercial responsibilities and obligations to passengers.
However, Viva Macao, turning out to be extremely unco-operative, did not provide the necessary information when the SAR government tried to assist stranded passengers, such as the name list of passengers, which resulted in the slow progress in helping the affected passengers.
Due to Viva Macao's failure in fulfilling its commercial responsibilities and repeatedly infringement of public interests, the SAR government requested Air Macao to terminate the sub- concession contract with Viva Macao in order to protect public interests after careful consideration of the negative impact to Macao's tourism industry, according to Chan.
Air Macao consented to the request of the SAR government later, which means Viva Macao is no longer compliant with the basic requirements for public air transport services. In consequence of this, the Civil Aviation Authority revoked its Air Operator Certificate Sunday.
Chan added that the SAR government would also follow up on the 200 million pacatas (25.3 million U.S. dollars) loan it had granted to Viva Macao between 2008 and 2009.
Viva Macao, which started its operation in 2006, has been in trouble financially since 2008, and the SAR government has been providing financial support to the airline.
The Co-ordinator of Tourism Crisis Management Office, Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, said the SAR government would continue to help Macao residents stranded overseas and foreign visitors stranded in Macao.
For those in transit, the public security authority would extent the period of stay of their visa for them to arrange alternative flights -- 15 days for People's Republic of China passport holders and 30 days for holders of foreign passports.
The President of the Executive Committee of the Consumer Council, Wong Hon Neng, said as the incident involved consumers, the Council would do its utmost to assist those affected. The Council had dispatched its officers to the information desk of Macao Government Tourist Office at Macao International Airport and to follow up on complaints and inquiries of the affected visitors.