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COTAIJET HK-Macau service suspended

News - The highcourt of Macau has ordered Cotaijet to suspend all ferry service immediately. Cotaijet has stopped selling all tickets until further notice, including online.

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Background - Cotaijet is the ferry service started by Las Vegas Sands (which owned the Sands and Venetian in Macau) and China-owned CKS between Hong Kong and the new ferry pier next to the Macau airport on Taipa.

They ordered 10 400-seat 47.5m highspeed catamarans from Austal of Australia (3 already delivered), and has leased 2 other smaller ones from CKS in the short term.

After a lot of controversies, they started service 10 days ago, with about 10 sailings each way between Hong Kong and Macau.

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What's going on? - A lot of people were not happy how Cotaijet comes into existence and gets its license to operate the route. Turbojet has to give up 1-2 berths at the busy ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island, and its CEO (Stanley Ho's daughter) came out about 3 weeks ago complaining for the first time. She also questioned how the Macau government gave Cotaijet a go without any public bidding for the route rights. And Turbojet is currently repainting its whole fleet to a very bright red to counter the purple-blue color of the Cotaijet fleet.

Another party very unhappy was a small company that has for years tried to start service between Tuen Mun in NW Hong Kong and Macau. It got the authority from the HK Government, but Macau kept saying no. It tried to operate from Tuen Mun to Zhuhai on the Chinese side for a while, but passenger load was too low to sustain service.

Since Cotaijet started, I think they've filed lawsuits in Macau, and also put up banners in various location in Hong Kong protesting Cotaijet.

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Anyways, this should be interesting to watch. Most of the parties have very strong influence not only in Macau, but also in Beijing. We'll see how this played out.

Meanwhile, one has to stick with Turbojet or New World First Ferry between Hong Kong and Macau for now.

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