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Old April 26th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #1
hkskyline
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Hong Kong Aviation News

This thread is all about aviation that affects Hong Kong.

Continuation from : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=88511


Cathay to make its return to Shanghai
Liberalisation deal will only offer Hong Kong carriers a small rise in flights to first-tier mainland cities

26 April 2006
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong airlines will soon gain more access to the lucrative Shanghai and Beijing markets, but liberalisation of the aviation regime with the mainland is expected to fall several items short of Cathay Pacific Airways' wish list, say officials close to ongoing air service negotiations.

The new deal, agreed in principle at the last round of talks earlier this month, will give Cathay its long-awaited return to Shanghai after more than a decade on the sidelines. But it will only offer a small rise in flights to China's first-tier airports in favour of awarding Hong Kong carriers more access to secondary facilities that probably rank outside the mainland's top 10 for passenger volumes.

"We will gradually open the skies to most of China's airports next year," said He Jinri, a deputy director-general with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China. "As for the first-tier airports, it is not going to happen until 2008, since the infrastructure cannot offer enough time slots [at the airports]."

An aggressive liberalisation track could be limited to mainland airports that handled five million to seven million passengers last year - such as Chongqing, Xiamen, Qingdao and Dalian. Many are posting annual growth rates in the 20 per cent range.

A breakthrough in the first round of the Sino-Hong Kong talks on April 10 was an agreement in principle to change the way capacity was regulated on specific routes.

Capacity would be calculated in future by the number of flights instead of the number of seats allocated, Mr He said.

Ostensibly, this move opens the door for Hong Kong or mainland airlines to gain capacity to key markets without being granted an increase in flights.

"The capacity could be multiplied as Hong Kong airlines choose to fly with larger aircraft," Mr He said. For example, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines flies eight of its 16 daily flights to Shanghai with A321 aircraft, which seat about 170 passengers. A shift to 300-seat A330 aircraft would result in a 75 per cent jump in the seats it can sell without an increase in flights.

"Given that the time slots at the gateway airports are so tight, airlines will be encouraged to use larger aircraft," Mr He said.

Two key issues still unresolved are the formula for the roll-out of access to second-tier airports and the extent of compensatory beyond rights through Hong Kong to be awarded to mainland carriers.

"[Allowing mainland carriers to serve third destinations via Hong Kong] will enhance Hong Kong's role as an international air hub," Mr He said. "But the [Hong Kong negotiators] do not agree with us. Hong Kong will regret it if it doesn't open up to mainland airlines before Beijing and Shanghai airports get ready and override Hong Kong."

He said the arrangement of restricting each route to two airlines from each jurisdiction was under review, a move that might prove a boon for Hong Kong's second-tier carriers such as Hongkong Express and China Rich Airways.

One executive said competition for secondary destinations was making it tough to gain a foothold in those markets. "I don't see any immediate benefit if this is the full extent of these initiatives. The condition of the secondary markets is already very competitive."

A new round of face-to-face negotiations might not be needed to finalise the deal, sources said.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #2
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HK Dragonair Mar Passengers +10.4% On Yr; Cargo Up 6.6%
27 April 2006

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Hong Kong's Dragon Airlines Ltd. said Thursday it carried 10.4% more passengers in March than in the same month last year, and 6.6% more cargo.

Dragonair, Hong Kong's second-biggest airline by revenue after Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK), said it carried 444,183 passengers last month, up from 402,313 in March last year. The airline also transported 36,262 metric tons of cargo in the month, up from 34,012 tons.

"We carried the second-highest amount of cargo in our history in March," said Chief Executive Stanley Hui. "The rise was a reflection of the return to normal of manufacturing and trading activity after the Chinese New Year holidays in the previous months."

However, he said the company's operating environment remains difficult due to surging oil prices, despite higher passenger and cargo figures, which has led to further bottom-line pressure.

Dragonair flies to more than 30 destinations across the Asia-Pacific region from Hong Kong, while its cargo network connects to Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Taiwan and China.

The unlisted company's major shareholders are China National Aviation Co. (1110.HK), which holds a 43.3% stake; CITIC Pacific Ltd. (0267.HK), with 29.4%; Cathay Pacific, with 17.8%; and Swire Pacific Ltd. (0019.HK), which holds 7.7%.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 06:18 PM   #3
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Hope high for end to aviation impasse with India
2 May 2006
South China Morning Post

Top Indian aviation officials have reacted positively to a proposal from an unofficial Hong Kong delegation that would increase the number of carriers eligible to fly to either places, according to Indian aviation sources.

No date has been set for the next round of talks aimed at breaking an impasse that has prevented a vital new air services agreement between the two sides, but senior Indian officials said talks could resume as early as next month.

Other proposals have also mooted more direct flights and the potential for an unprecedented award of fifth freedom rights allowing airlines to pick up passengers and goods bound for third destinations.

"Based on the calibration of the present proposal, there are grounds for us to move forward," a source said.

The exploratory proposal - put forward by both sides' top airlines - indicated their wish lists had changed little since the last round of talks ended in January last year, he said.

India would like to increase the number of its airlines designated to fly to Hong Kong and the number of weekly flights they can offer, and its carriers to be allowed to fly beyond Hong Kong to markets on the west coast of the United States.

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines continues to push for its maiden flights to India, in particular Bangalore. Cathay Pacific Airways is keen to at least increase to daily its four-times-weekly services to Delhi and Mumbai and launch initial flights to Chennai, where it begins all-cargo flights next month.

The deal includes the possibility of an unprecedented award to a Hong Kong airline - probably Cathay - of beyond rights through Delhi to Manchester should equitable rights be granted to Indian carriers, according to the source.

Cathay's bid to fly to Manchester - via Moscow - was shot down in February after a deal it thought it had secured failed to materialise.

The last round of talks ended abruptly after Hong Kong negotiators presented an unexpectedly aggressive mandate to an Indian side which was under the impression negotiations were to focus on a basic framework pre-agreed by both sides' airlines.

As the recriminations flew in the aftermath of their collapse, the government's lead negotiator, Wilson Fung Wing-yip, told local airline executives they lacked the authority to negotiate on behalf of Hong Kong, even on an informal basis.

The official said the Indians still harboured resentment at the way they were treated during the last round, but declined to say whether their displeasure was aimed at Mr Fung's team or Hong Kong's aviation sector in general.

Hong Kong has consistently rejected India's "state policy" of capping access to its "metros" - its main cities - at seven flights a week, requesting 36 additional frequencies a week last time, he said.

Conversely, India equally has rejected Hong Kong's cap on fifth freedom traffic at 50 per cent of an aircraft's seating capacity.

Passenger traffic between the two jurisdictions is increasingly constrained by the present agreement.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
This thread is all about aviation that affects Hong Kong.

Continuation from : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=88511


Cathay to make its return to Shanghai
Liberalisation deal will only offer Hong Kong carriers a small rise in flights to first-tier mainland cities

26 April 2006
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong airlines will soon gain more access to the lucrative Shanghai and Beijing markets, but liberalisation of the aviation regime with the mainland is expected to fall several items short of Cathay Pacific Airways' wish list, say officials close to ongoing air service negotiations.

The new deal, agreed in principle at the last round of talks earlier this month, will give Cathay its long-awaited return to Shanghai after more than a decade on the sidelines. But it will only offer a small rise in flights to China's first-tier airports in favour of awarding Hong Kong carriers more access to secondary facilities that probably rank outside the mainland's top 10 for passenger volumes.

"We will gradually open the skies to most of China's airports next year," said He Jinri, a deputy director-general with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China. "As for the first-tier airports, it is not going to happen until 2008, since the infrastructure cannot offer enough time slots [at the airports]."

An aggressive liberalisation track could be limited to mainland airports that handled five million to seven million passengers last year - such as Chongqing, Xiamen, Qingdao and Dalian. Many are posting annual growth rates in the 20 per cent range.

A breakthrough in the first round of the Sino-Hong Kong talks on April 10 was an agreement in principle to change the way capacity was regulated on specific routes.

Capacity would be calculated in future by the number of flights instead of the number of seats allocated, Mr He said.

Ostensibly, this move opens the door for Hong Kong or mainland airlines to gain capacity to key markets without being granted an increase in flights.

"The capacity could be multiplied as Hong Kong airlines choose to fly with larger aircraft," Mr He said. For example, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines flies eight of its 16 daily flights to Shanghai with A321 aircraft, which seat about 170 passengers. A shift to 300-seat A330 aircraft would result in a 75 per cent jump in the seats it can sell without an increase in flights.

"Given that the time slots at the gateway airports are so tight, airlines will be encouraged to use larger aircraft," Mr He said.

Two key issues still unresolved are the formula for the roll-out of access to second-tier airports and the extent of compensatory beyond rights through Hong Kong to be awarded to mainland carriers.

"[Allowing mainland carriers to serve third destinations via Hong Kong] will enhance Hong Kong's role as an international air hub," Mr He said. "But the [Hong Kong negotiators] do not agree with us. Hong Kong will regret it if it doesn't open up to mainland airlines before Beijing and Shanghai airports get ready and override Hong Kong."

He said the arrangement of restricting each route to two airlines from each jurisdiction was under review, a move that might prove a boon for Hong Kong's second-tier carriers such as Hongkong Express and China Rich Airways.

One executive said competition for secondary destinations was making it tough to gain a foothold in those markets. "I don't see any immediate benefit if this is the full extent of these initiatives. The condition of the secondary markets is already very competitive."

A new round of face-to-face negotiations might not be needed to finalise the deal, sources said.
How disappointing. China is still holding Hong Kong back.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
How disappointing. China is still holding Hong Kong back.
Bilateral negotiations aren't usually one way discussions, and HK can more than hold its own. Note the following quote:

"[Allowing mainland carriers to serve third destinations via Hong Kong] will enhance Hong Kong's role as an international air hub," Mr He said. "But the [Hong Kong negotiators] do not agree with us. Hong Kong will regret it if it doesn't open up to mainland airlines before Beijing and Shanghai airports get ready and override Hong Kong."

Media spin aside, I doubt that CX, as the main airline at HKIA, is particularly thrilled about allowing too many mainland airlines to fly to onward destinations via HKG.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Hope high for end to aviation impasse with India
2 May 2006
South China Morning Post

Top Indian aviation officials have reacted positively to a proposal from an unofficial Hong Kong delegation that would increase the number of carriers eligible to fly to either places, according to Indian aviation sources.

No date has been set for the next round of talks aimed at breaking an impasse that has prevented a vital new air services agreement between the two sides, but senior Indian officials said talks could resume as early as next month.

Other proposals have also mooted more direct flights and the potential for an unprecedented award of fifth freedom rights allowing airlines to pick up passengers and goods bound for third destinations.

"Based on the calibration of the present proposal, there are grounds for us to move forward," a source said.

The exploratory proposal - put forward by both sides' top airlines - indicated their wish lists had changed little since the last round of talks ended in January last year, he said.

India would like to increase the number of its airlines designated to fly to Hong Kong and the number of weekly flights they can offer, and its carriers to be allowed to fly beyond Hong Kong to markets on the west coast of the United States.

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines continues to push for its maiden flights to India, in particular Bangalore. Cathay Pacific Airways is keen to at least increase to daily its four-times-weekly services to Delhi and Mumbai and launch initial flights to Chennai, where it begins all-cargo flights next month.

The deal includes the possibility of an unprecedented award to a Hong Kong airline - probably Cathay - of beyond rights through Delhi to Manchester should equitable rights be granted to Indian carriers, according to the source.

Cathay's bid to fly to Manchester - via Moscow - was shot down in February after a deal it thought it had secured failed to materialise.

The last round of talks ended abruptly after Hong Kong negotiators presented an unexpectedly aggressive mandate to an Indian side which was under the impression negotiations were to focus on a basic framework pre-agreed by both sides' airlines.

As the recriminations flew in the aftermath of their collapse, the government's lead negotiator, Wilson Fung Wing-yip, told local airline executives they lacked the authority to negotiate on behalf of Hong Kong, even on an informal basis.

The official said the Indians still harboured resentment at the way they were treated during the last round, but declined to say whether their displeasure was aimed at Mr Fung's team or Hong Kong's aviation sector in general.

Hong Kong has consistently rejected India's "state policy" of capping access to its "metros" - its main cities - at seven flights a week, requesting 36 additional frequencies a week last time, he said.

Conversely, India equally has rejected Hong Kong's cap on fifth freedom traffic at 50 per cent of an aircraft's seating capacity.

Passenger traffic between the two jurisdictions is increasingly constrained by the present agreement.
I hope this time some thing concrete comes out or else both sides will be losers. This will let carriers like SQ, TG and MH have the better part of the pie!

I am so egar to see CX in BLR fingers crossed!!!
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Old May 9th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #7
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Thailand may be the logical choice geographically to add HK-India capacity in the meantime, but the other major Asian airports are not well situated geographically to make additional connection points work.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 07:03 AM   #8
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HKIA Breaks Passenger Traffic Record in April

(HONG KONG, 14 May 2006) - Passenger traffic at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) surged to 3.8 million in April, representing a 14.1% growth over the same period last year and an all-time-high record for monthly passenger throughput.

The robust passenger growth was driven by holiday and business travels as both Easter holiday and the Guangzhou Trade Fair fell in the same month. Daily passenger traffic reached a record high of 154,000 on 14 April, the first day of the four-day Easter Break.

Boosted by the busy traffic in April, aircraft movements grew 10.6% to 23,580 as compared to the same month last year, setting a new daily record of 870 on 14 April 2006. Cargo throughput continued to grow with total tonnage up 3% to 294,000.

Commenting on last month's performance, Mr Hans Bakker, Commercial Director of the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), said the visitor traffic growth will continue thanks to the steady increase in passengers particularly from South East Asia and Australasia.

According to the Airports Council International (ACI), the international association for the world's airports, air passenger and freight traffic worldwide will grow at an annual rate of 4% and 5%, respectively, in 15 years' time, with the Asia Pacific region enjoying the highest growth rate in all categories of air traffic.

"To cater for the high demand for air traffic, HKIA has put in place a series of facility and capacity enhancement projects to provide just-in-time facilities to accommodate medium term demands. We are also in the process of formulating a 20-year master development plan for HKIA," Mr Bakker added.

For the past 12 months ended April 2006, HKIA handled 42.1 million passengers, a rise of 9.2% over the previous year. Cargo throughtput and aircraft movements totalled 3.48 million tonnes and 272,400, respectively, increasing by 9.4% and 11.6% year-on-year.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:45 AM   #9
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I wonder whether Guangzhou - HK traffic will overtake the Taipei - HK sector.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 02:34 PM   #10
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FedEx Seeks Hong Kong-Delhi Frequency
4 May 2006
Aviation Daily
Volume 364, Number 24

FedEx Express seeks one weekly Hong Kong-Delhi frequency for a several-stop service destined for Memphis. The carrier currently operates the route on a blind-sector basis between Hong Kong and Delhi, and the exemption would give it authority for the fifth-freedom market. Seven Hong Kong-Delhi frequencies are available, since no other U.S. cargo carriers operate in the market [OST-2006-24643].
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 02:36 PM   #11
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Crash pilot was racing to meet time target
Concern over speed of response may have contributed to fatal 2003 helicopter accident, probe finds
5 May 2006
South China Morning Post

Two crew members killed in a Government Flying Service helicopter were racing to meet a target response time when they crashed into a hillside on Lantau in low visibility, an investigation into the accident has revealed.

Pilot Pang Fu-kwok, 34, and crewman Dickson Chan Man-tik, 31, were killed when their helicopter crashed into a hill on the Tung Chung Pass on August 26, 2003.

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) report into the accident, released yesterday, said the pilot's wife told investigators her husband had been concerned about keeping performance pledges to attend casualty evacuation scenes within 20 minutes.

The day before the accident, Pang had abandoned an attempt to cross Lantau Island via the Tung Chung Pass and had gone through the Silvermine Pass instead, thus failing to meet the target time.

The report stated that this failure may have been playing on his mind because he discussed it with a colleague on the way to work and mentioned to GFS air traffic controllers just 90 seconds before the crash that the chances of meeting the target were "marginal".

Last night, Calvin Shum Chi-wai, GFS manager of operations, said there were no plans to amend the performance pledges, adding that pilots were never penalised or criticised for failing to meet target times, which were a "management tool to gauge our performance".

The accident happened three minutes after the helicopter left Chek Lap Kok airport at 10.28pm to take a patient from Cheung Chau to Queen Mary Hospital on Hong Kong Island.

CAD investigators found no evidence that the helicopter malfunctioned or that the pilot was suffering from long-term fatigue, but the report did suggest that Pang may have been "insufficiently rested" and that this "may have impaired his reasoning power and decision-making capabilities".

The report said weather and visibility conditions in the Tung Chung Pass were below the GFS's minimum standards for flying, and the helicopter was too low and flying too fast in those conditions.

It said the crew might have survived if they had been wearing helmets and if the crewman had been properly strapped into his seat instead of wearing just a "monkey harness", which allows movement inside the helicopter.

Since the accident, the GFS no longer flies along the Tung Chung Pass at night. It is now mandatory for crew to wear helmets and for crewmen to be strapped into their seats if they are not required for lookout duties or to assist injured passengers.

The GFS has also changed its shift times so there is a staff overlap to ensure that crew members have time to carry out pre-flight checks and duties before being called out on emergency response missions.

About 30 other recommendations laid out in the report would be "put in place as swiftly as possible", a GFS spokesman said.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:42 PM   #12
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CR Airways and Ho carrier eye merger
HNA Group to buy 45pc stake in loss-making Hong Kong Express from gaming tycoon

9 May 2006
South China Morning Post

China Rich Airways (CR Airways) and the Ho family-owned Hong Kong Express Airways are discussing a merger to create an airline that will focus on the growing demand for passenger services to China's secondary cities and some regional destinations, according to sources close to the talks.

One of the first steps to the merger is expected to be unveiled soon with China's HNA Group, which last month cleared government hurdles to buy 45 per cent of CR Airways, taking a similar stake in the loss-making Hong Kong Express from its majority shareholder Stanley Ho Hung-sun.

"We have been in discussions with [HNA] and CR Airways about the possibility of merging for many months now," Hong Kong Express chief executive Andrew Tse said yesterday. "The idea was first floated in November but the negotiations are very complex."

According to another executive close to the process, an agreement in principle has been reached between Mr Ho and Hainan Island-based HNA. "The [memorandum of understanding] has been knocked into shape but it has yet to be signed," he said.

"The government is very nervous about HNA taking stakes in two local airlines which basically have the route designations to all but the first-tier cities in China mopped up."

It is unclear if the stake would be bought in cash or shares. A Macau-based spokeswoman for Mr Ho referred inquiries back to Mr Tse, who declined to comment.

Hong Kong Express has found its initial forays into the mainland market tough going and had to cancel a Hong Kong-Guangzhou service after failing to reach an interlining agreement with Cathay Pacific Airways. It has run into stiff competition from Hong Kong Dragon Airlines on routes to Hangzhou and Ningbo and recently lost the rights to fly to Laoag in the Philippines.

The government, which has been encouraging new airlines to enter the Hong Kong market, may not take a negative view of a move which could effectively reduce competition. "We would only be concerned that any merger would render the new company ineligible for designation as a Hong Kong airline," an official said yesterday. "If a merger is the natural result of market forces, what can we do? We are concerned about anti-competitive behaviour, but we are not necessarily concerned about market share."

An airline must meet three criteria to be Hong Kong-designated and thereby eligible to benefit from the bilateral agreements the government negotiates with other countries - it must be incorporated in Hong Kong, its principal place of business must be in the city, and it must be managed and controlled from Hong Kong.

The merger is not expected to take shape before the fourth quarter as the details get ironed out and the government is given an opportunity to run a rule over any new shareholding structure.

The prospect of a CR Airways-Hong Kong Express merger with access to HNA's capital resources would be seen as a threat to Dragonair, which has its own aspirations to develop China's secondary cities into profit-making routes.

The merger talks come as local and mainland negotiators prepare to unveil the latest air services arrangement between the parties which is believed to give Cathay long-awaited passenger services to the coveted Shanghai market and give Hong Kong airlines access to every city in China with each route restricted to two carriers.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:44 PM   #13
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HK Air Cargo Terminals April Throughput Up 2.6% On Year
9 May 2006

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd. said Tuesday its throughput in April rose 2.6% from a year earlier to 210,426 metric tons, fueled by strong exports.

Export volume rose 3.3% to 120,923 tons, while import volume gained 2.7% to 57,647 tons, it said.

Transshipment volume in April fell 0.3% on the year to 31,855 tons.

Between January and April, the throughput at Hactl, which handles most of the cargo moving through Hong Kong's international airport, rose 6.6% to 786,542 tons.

Hactl is jointly owned by Swire Pacific Ltd. (0019.HK), Jardine Pacific Ltd., Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. (0004.HK), Hutchison International Port Holdings Ltd., China National Aviation Corp., Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) and CITIC Pacific Ltd. (0267.HK).
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
I wonder whether Guangzhou - HK traffic will overtake the Taipei - HK sector.
But isn't there a high speed rail service planned between the two?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 09:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
But isn't there a high speed rail service planned between the two?
Despite the HSR link between Kowloon and Guangzhou, there are still 5 flights a day between the two cities. I guess it's quite clear now that air traffic on this sector will not overshadow HK-Taipei any time soon!
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Old May 24th, 2006, 11:22 PM   #16
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ANALYSIS-Cathay eyes China prize as airline shake-up looms
By Vinicy Chan

HONG KONG, May 12 (Reuters) - China's tightly regulated airline industry faces a shake-up that could see Cathay Pacific pay up to HK$2.2 billion (US$284 million) to become Asia's biggest carrier with profitable routes into the mainland's fast-growing air travel market.

Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's international carrier, is in talks that could see it take a controlling stake in unlisted Dragonair, which flies more than 300 times a week between Hong Kong and mainland China.

"With Cathay's feed from around the world and Dragonair's access to China, you'll have the making of a hugely powerful carrier," said Richard Pinkham, Singapore-based consultant with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. "It would be a win-win."

One potential road block: Beijing, which is seen as reluctant to permit foreign-controlled Cathay a big slice of the market. Cathay, which declined comment on the stake sale talks, sold 10.65 percent of Dragonair to China in 1996, a move seen as a sop to Beijing ahead of Britain's handover of Hong Kong.

Up for grabs now is a 28.5 percent stake in Dragonair held by CITIC Pacific, a Hong Kong-listed investment arm of China's State Council -- the country's cabinet.

Cathay, which already owns 17.8 percent of Dragonair, may take that and add a 7.7 percent stake held by its parent, Swire Pacific, taking its Dragonair holding to 54 percent.

CITIC Pacific, which owns 25.4 percent of Cathay, has said that while it plans to be a "significant shareholder" for the long term, it may cut its stake in line with plans to trim non-core shareholdings and focus on property and resources.

UBS and Morgan Stanley estimate Cathay would have to pay HK$1.5 billion to HK$2.2 billion for CITIC Pacific's entire 28.5 percent stake in Dragonair.

DEAL IMMINENT

While speculation of a reshuffle has swirled for at least a year, industry sources are confident this time it's for real.

"A deal looks more imminent now as there's a willing seller," said a senior private banker at HSBC who oversees portfolios that invest in Swire, CITIC Pacific, Cathay and Air China. "It's a question of which company ends up buying what."

Analysts say a deal makes good commercial sense: allowing Cathay to tap China's huge growth potential, and simplifying the shareholding structure of Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Air China, the largest shareholder in Dragonair.

For Air China, the deal would bring new technology and training, access to a global alliance and cost benefits. For its part, Air China would bring traffic to Cathay's international base and Dragonair's Hong Kong base.

Cathay Pacific and foreign carriers such as Japan Airlines Corp., Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Korean Air Co. have only limited access to Chinese skies.

Cathay can operate passenger services just to Beijing and Xiamen, a city of about 2 million people in Fujian province. Buying Dragonair would fill a hole in Cathay's global network.

"Clearly, Cathay would benefit from controlling Dragonair as it could cut competition and allow Cathay to fully utilise Dragonair as a feeder airline," HSBC's regional transport analyst Mark Webb said in a research note.

Official data shows China had 120 million inbound visitors last year, with projected annual growth of 8 percent in the next five years. China is expected to receive 137 million visitors by 2019, making it the world's largest inbound tourist nation.

China's outbound tourists topped 20 million in 2003, overtaking Japan, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) puts average annual growth at 9.6 percent.

FINAL SAY

Beijing's thinking will be crucial.

"The mainland's reservations about Cathay controlling Dragonair may be the biggest hurdle for a change of ownership," said Kevin O'Connor, CLSA aviation analyst.

A tie-up would create a formidable rival for mainland airlines such as China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd., which are already dogged by inefficiency and high fuel costs.

Analysts say CITIC Pacific may also sell part of its Cathay stake to Air China, which would pay by swapping shares. Cathay already owns 10 percent of Air China, and the cross-shareholding would allow closer ties.

A tie-up would create Asia Pacific's biggest airline company with combined operating revenue of US$12.8 billion last year, Morgan Stanley said in a research report, versus Qantas Airways' US$9.5 billion and Singapore Air's US$8.1 billion.

A three-way alliance between Cathay, Air China and Dragonair would command more than 90 percent of flights between Hong Kong and Beijing and the lion's share of the Hong Kong-China market.

"Negotiations are going pretty smoothly," Air China chief Ma Xulun told Reuters in April. He said no timetable had been set.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 04:52 PM   #17
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22 May 2006
PASSENGER NUMBERS REACH RECORD LEVEL IN APRIL
Dragonair Press Release
http://www.dragonair.com/icms/servle...=2811&lang=eng

(HONG KONG) Dragonair flew a record number of passengers in April, buoyed by the Easter holidays, the start of the Golden Week break and a number of large trade exhibitions in Hong Kong.

Some 481,327 passengers travelled with the airline, an increase of 11.5% year-on-year, and 1.5% higher than the previous record of 474,047, set in October last year.

"Both individual and group travel was stronger in the month," said CEO Stanley Hui. "Individual travel was boosted by several large trade shows in Hong Kong, while the holidays saw leisure travel rise, particularly from Hong Kong, Taipei and Beijing. This enabled us to break through the 480,000-passenger level for the first time in a single month."

The holidays also had an effect on freight shipments, with the amount of cargo carried at 33,812 tonnes in April, up 0.8% year-on-year, but down 6.8% on March.

"The base of comparison was high, given that March marked the end of the first quarter and exporters had orders to meet," Mr. Hui explained. "We did, however, see an upswing in exports to Europe and the US from China ahead of the start of the Golden Week holidays, when many factories in the Pearl River Delta temporarily close."

He added: "The oil price continued to be of particular concern during the month, with it testing new highs. We have implemented a range of measures to conserve fuel in our daily operation, and are looking for opportunities to increase our hedging profile on fuel costs whenever possible in order to mitigate the impact.

"The fuel surcharge on air tickets and airway bills continues to be an important arrangement for the airline to defray part of these heavy additional costs, which is why we have applied to the authorities for a revision in the fuel surcharge for air tickets from June 1."
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Old May 28th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #18
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Air China Cargo, China Cargo Airlines and Dragonair to merge - report
28 May 2006

BEIJING (AFX) - China's two largest cargo airlines - Air China Cargo Co and China Cargo Airlines Ltd - are set to merge before the end of September, with Hong Kong Dragon Airlines to join them later this year, the Economic Observer reported.

The newspaper quoted unidentified sources as saying that the move is aimed at forming a new entity with the potential to become a top five global cargo airline.

Currently around two thirds of the country's air cargo volume is handled by foreign carriers, said the report.

The new carrier, which will be formed on consolidation of the three airlines, will be based in Shanghai, the report added.

It is not yet known what Dragonair plans to do with its passenger business, according to the report.

Air China Cargo's shareholders are Air China, CITIC Pacific Ltd and China Capital Airport Holding Co, which hold 51 pct, 25 pct and 24 pct stakes, respectively.

China Cargo Airlines were established in 1998 by China Eastern and China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO Group), with China Eastern holding a 70 pct stake and China Ocean Shipping holding the remaining 30 pct.

Air China subsidiary China National Aviation Co Ltd is Dragonair's biggest shareholder, with a 43.29 pct stake.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #19
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Dragonair raises price on flights to Hong Kong to balance oil hike
27 May 2006
Shanghai Daily

Passengers on Dragonair flights from Shanghai to Hong Kong will pay more from next month as the carrier raises jet fuel surcharges in response to rising oil prices.

The Hong Kong-based carrier announced yesterday jet fuel surcharges will be lifted to HK$109 (US$14.1), or 113 yuan per passenger per flight starting June 1 from the current HK$93, or 94 yuan, on flights between Hong Kong and Chinese mainland cities.

The prices are effective until the end of July, the carrier said.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific Airways, the biggest carrier in Hong Kong, also said surcharges will be adjusted under the same standard on flights between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.

Chinese mainland carriers are proposing a further increase in fuel surcharges now that the State Development and Reform Commission has announced a major hike in fuel prices.

Jet fuel prices were raised by 500 yuan per ton from 5,040 yuan per ton.

The nation's three major carriers, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Air China, have proposed to industry regulators that each passenger should pay 50 yuan, an increase from 30 yuan, for domestic flights shorter than 800 kilometers.

For flights longer than 800 kilometers, they proposed the surcharge to be lifted to 100 yuan from 60 yuan.

The proposal has yet to be approved, but industry analysts said the surcharge was set to go up with rising fuel prices, which have led most Chinese carriers to huge losses in the past year.

The latest surcharge hike was in April when the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China announced a fuel surcharge hike of 50 percent, effective April 10 to October 10.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 04:50 PM   #20
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Two airlines to launch Taichung-Hong Kong charter flights

TAIPEI, May 25 Asia in Focus - Taiwan-based MANDARIN AIRLINES and Hong Kong-based HONG KONG EXPRESS AIRWAYS announced Wednesday that they will launch Taichung-Hong Kong charter flights starting June 2. Mandarin Airlines President Wang Hua-yu said passengers from central Taiwan account for around 10 per cent of Taiwan passengers to Hong Kong.

* To address their needs, the airline will cooperate with Hong Kong Express Airways to launch the charter flights and launch the service between June and September.

* From June 2, Mandarin Airlines will fly one charter flight every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, while Hong Kong Express Airways will fly one charter flight every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
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