Monday, October 31, 2005

You Can Have the Cake and Eat it Too!

Hong Kong government has recently concluded its consultation exercise on its plan to partially privatize the airport, read the consultation paper and written submissions here.

Reading the submissions is great fun, check this out...

"In going forward with any plan to privatize AA (blogger note:AA stands for Airport Authority) , it is essential that the major aim of developing and maintaining Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) as an international aviation centre be upheld. The process has to provide genuine benefits to the people of Hong Kong at large."

If I do not tell you the identity of the organization that sent in the submission which contains the quote above, you would probably guess it is sent by some government departments that would like to support the government's case for privatizing the airport. Afterall, who else except the government concerns about protecting "the genuine benefits of the people of HK at large?

If you venture such a guess, you are....WRONG. It is Cathay Pacific, a listed private company here in Hong Kong! Read the whole thing here. The company, by the way, does not support the government's privatization plan.

Now the question is why would a for-profit company suddenly be interested in the welfare of the "people of Hong Kong at large"? And why does the company oppose privatization?

My guess is....hmmm... Cathay Pacific fears that once the airport is privatized, fees will gp up. In other words, the airport is currently under-pricing its services, so taxpayers are in fact subsidizing Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific is in effect saying that hand-out from the government is a way to "provide genuine benefits to the people of Hong Kong at large". Is this Orwellian Newspeak or what? Or is it a living proof that you can have the cake and eat it too?

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