Viva Macau's AOC revoked due to financial woes

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Macau's Civil Aviation Authority has revoked Viva Macau's air operator's certificate after the carrier cancelled flights over the weekend due to its financial difficulties.

The low-cost airline cancelled several flights starting from 26 March after it failed to pay for fuel, says the Macau government.

Flights to Jakarta, Tokyo, Hanoi and Melbourne were cancelled, leaving hundreds of travellers stranded at the Macau International Airport.

The government subsequently obtained resident carrier Air Macau's consent to terminate its sub-concession contract with Viva Macau, say Macau authorities.

Viva Macau started operations in 2006 under a sub-concession agreement with Air Macau, which had previously held a monopoly on services from Macau.

"Following the termination of the sub-concession contract of Viva Macau by Air Macau, Viva Macau is no longer compliant with the basic requirements for air transport services. In consequence of this, the civil aviation authority revoked its air operator's certificate," says the government.

The civil aviation authority's president Chan Weng Hong says that the authority has tried to contact Viva Macau to "urge it to fulfill its commercial responsibilities and obligations to passengers". However, the carrier "had not cooperated" by noon yesterday, says the government.

"Viva Macau had been extremely uncooperative. It did not provide the necessary information when the government tried to assist stranded passengers, such as the name list of passengers, which resulted in the slow progress in helping the affected passengers," it adds.

"The government would also, through legal means, follow up on the 200 million patacas loan it had granted to Viva Macau between 2008 and 2009."

The loan was granted to Viva Macau to ensure its financial sustainability.

Viva Macau's CEO Reg Macdonald and the airline's officials could not be contacted for comment. The airline's website booking system has been suspended.

The privately owned airline was operating flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo Narita, with a fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft.