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Old April 25th, 2005, 11:46 PM   #341
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China Southern flies high after Sars blow
Kelvin Wong
26 April 2005
South China Morning Post

China Southern Airlines, one of China's top three carriers, says it rebounded into profitability last year, recovering from the Sars-dented losses posted in 2003, but warns that high oil prices will fuel uncertainty going forward.

Yesterday, the company posted net profits for last year of 94 million yuan on turnover of 24.19 billion, compared with a loss of 527 million yuan in 2003, when the Sars epidemic emptied airports and planes for months.

China's three largest carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern - recorded combined losses of 2.7 billion yuan that year.

The company warned in its report to the board of directors, released yesterday, that historically high oil prices and rising maintenance costs would pressure short-term earnings.

"Due to global political instability, oil prices have stayed at a persistently high level," it said. "Oil has now reached 30 per cent of our costs."

It has bought five of the aircraft, which are scheduled to be delivered between 2007 and 2010. The airline declined to disclose the price of the planes but said it would pay less than the list price of US$272.6 million each.

China's aviation industry reported total profits of 8.69 billion yuan last year, mainland media reported in January. Vice-minister of the General Administration for Civil Aviation of China Li Jun said demand for aviation services would grow 15 per cent this year.

Mainland carriers earned 6.23 billion yuan last year as the number of passengers surged to 120 million from 87.59 million in 2003.

The top three carriers saw earnings last year reach 5.39 billion yuan.

China Southern's main board-listed shares closed 2.13 per cent down at $2.30.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 05:55 AM   #342
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China Southern Air posts 2004 net loss of 48 mln yuan
By Joyce Li

HONG KONG, April 26 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd. (1055.HK), the country's largest carrier, said on Tuesday it suffered a net loss of 48 million yuan (US$5.8 million) in 2004, far worse than market expectations, as soaring fuel costs offset strong passenger growth.

The airline had been expected to report a net profit of 584.5 million yuan based on international accounting standards, according to 20 analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

"The group recorded year-on-year growth of more than 37 percent in total operating revenue. However, fuel costs rose substantially...," Chairman Liu Shao Yong said in a statement.

"2005 is expected to be a year of challenge for the group. While managing the integrated post-acquisition of the group, the group will also face increasing competition due to increasing supply in capacity in the PRC aviation market," Liu said.

China Southern (ZNH.N) posted a loss of 358 million yuan in 2003, when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome dealt a devastating blow to the global travel industry.

China Southern said it recorded a net profit of 103 million yuan in 2004 based on Chinese accounting standards, up from 15 million yuan profit in 2003.

Goldman Sachs said that the result was significantly below its forecast and implied a net loss of 589 million in the fourth quarter alone, as the first three quarters were profitable, based on Chinese accounting standards.

"Given that CSA is the only major Chinese carrier to report a loss in 2004, we believe its share price will come under further pressure. We are reviewing our 2005-6 (profit) estimates," Goldman said in a research note.

China Southern's shares have lost nearly 15 percent of their value in the last three months through Monday's close, largely on concerns about rising jet fuel costs.

Total operating revenue rose to 23.97 billion yuan in 2004 from 17.47 billion yuan in 2003 as passenger traffic rebounded from the SARS downturn.

Revenue from principal operations was 24.19 billion yuan in 2004, based on Chinese accounting rules, against 17.35 billion yuan from a year ago.

But fuel prices continued to rise during the period and accounted for about 30 percent of operating costs.

Passenger revenue, which accounted for 90.4 percent of its total traffic revenue, rose 40.6 percent year-on-year to 21.1 billion yuan in 2004.

Its passenger load factor increased by 4.6 percentage points to 69.2 percent, and passenger yield remained steady at 0.57 yuan.

China Southern said the purchase of core aviation business assets of China Northern Airlines Co. and Xinjiang Airlines Co. would improve efficiency and allow it to consolidate its leadership of the market.

With China promoting investment in western and north-eastern regions, the economy in those areas is expected to grow at a rapid pace in the coming decade, providing substantial growth potential for the company, China Southern said.

China Southern operated 542 routes as at the end of 2004, of which 434 were domestic, 85 were international and 23 were Hong Kong regional. It operated a fleet of 231 aircraft with an average age of 7.47 years.

The company did not recommend any final dividend for 2004.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 03:00 PM   #343
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China Shenzhen Airlines Stake Put Up For Public Auction
26 April 2005

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--The controlling shareholder of China's Shenzhen Airlines Co. is putting up for public auction its 65% stake in the carrier, according to a notice on the Shenzhen Enterprise Ownership Exchange Center's Web site.

The center is a Shenzhen government-sponsored organization for the trading of stakes in unlisted companies, primarily state-owned ones.

The center said that the public auction was originally scheduled for April 29, but had been postponed to May 23.

The Web site didn't specify the name of the state-owned vendor company but the Guangdong provincial government's investment company - Guangdong Holding Group - has previously been identified as the seller.

Air China Ltd. (0753.HK) owns 25% of Shenzhen Airlines and has, along with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) and Sinotrans Ltd.(0598.HK), been one of the companies reportedly most interested in bidding for the stake, according to a Guangdong newspaper.

Cathay declined to comment, though an analyst at a local brokerage said it was unlikely to be interested in the stake. Sinotrans declined to comment and Air China wasn't immediately available for comment.

Shenzhen Airlines, which has a fleet of 27 Boeing aircraft, was founded in 1992 and operates about 80 domestic routes.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #344
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China Southern Cites Oil Costs in Posting Loss
27 April 2005
The Asian Wall Street Journal

HONG KONG -- China Southern Airlines said it remained in the red in 2004 as rising oil prices more than canceled the benefits from air-traffic growth in China.

The carrier, based in Guangzhou and listed in Hong Kong, said it posted a net loss of 48 million yuan ($5.8 million) for 2004, narrowed down from a net loss of 358 million yuan in 2003, when its bottom line was hurt by the outbreak in Asia of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

But China Southern's revenue rose 37% to 24 billion yuan from 17.5 billion yuan, because of the continuing rebound in air traffic in China after SARS fears eased.

However, operating expenses also rose 36% to 23.1 billion yuan, from 17 billion yuan in 2003.

"Fuel costs rose substantially and now accounted for more than 30% of the operating costs of the group," said Liu Shao Yong, chairman of the company.

Mr. Liu expects increasing capacity in China's aviation market in 2005. "We will try all possible means to minimize the impact of fuel costs, with a view to maintaining and increasing the group's market share and business revenue," he said.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 12:00 AM   #345
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Hainan Airlines to sell shares
Toh Han Shih
25 April 2005
South China Morning Post

Hainan Airlines plans to issue up to 2.8 billion non-tradeable shares to finance its expansion and debt problems, according to an announcement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

The airline, which has A and B shares on the Shanghai bourse, could raise about US$900 million as it plans to price its placement at an average of up to 90 per cent of its A-share closing price in the 20 trading days before the issue.

The A share's price on Friday last week fell 0.3 per cent to 3.06 yuan, which translates to 7.7 billion yuan if 2.8 billion shares were sold.

Hainan Airlines will seek approval of the share issue in an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on May 24. It will issue the shares within a year of approval.

United States financier George Soros is the biggest shareholder in the airline, with a 14.8 per cent stake.

The company plans to use the funds to buy out minority stakes in three subsidiary carriers - Xinhua Airlines, Changan Airlines and Shanxi Airlines. The funds will also be used to buy aircraft, repay bank loans and increase working capital.

"Sars [in 2003] depleted the company's net assets, greatly raised its debt to asset ratio, resulting in high financing costs and leaving little room for financing," the airline said.

"The share issue will improve asset quality, optimise the company's capital structure, lower its debt to asset ratio from 91.6 per cent to 70 per cent, lower financing costs and improve profitability."

Ivan Chung, managing director of mainland credit rating agency Xinhua Far East China Ratings, said Hainan Airlines financed its previous expansions with debt, making the firm financially vulnerable.

"That's why it needs to increase its equity to optimise its capital structure. Even a small rise in interest rates will have a significant impact on the firm. Its cash flow is barely enough to pay interest because it has too much debt."

Xinhua Far East assigned Hainan Airlines a credit rating of CC, indicating a weak credit standing that showed the firm was highly likely to default on its debt.

A Xinhua Far East report said Hainan Airlines "had only 1.58 billion yuan in cash reserves and barely generated a net operating cash flow of 300 million yuan in the first quarter of 2004. Therefore, disregarding the airline's committed capital expenditure of 2.8 billion [at the end of 2003], there will be a substantial funding gap that must be refinanced".

Mr Chung said: "There is uncertainty over how successful the share placement will be, as the sentiment in China's equity market is bad. For such a company with high gearing, the question is whether investors can accept such a risk."

Hainan Airlines hopes to sell its shares to strategic investors and international investment funds. It can sell up to 1.54 billion of the 2.8 billion shares to foreign investors.

The report said the firm would be under strong competitive pressure from China's big three airlines.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #346
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China Southern, Eastern Airlines 1Q Results Hurt
By Ruby Chan
29 April 2005

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--China Southern Airlines Co. (ZNH) and China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA), two of China's major state-controlled airlines, made an abrupt landing Friday, as increases in jet fuel costs badly hurt their first quarter earnings.

China Southern swung into the red, while China Eastern saw its net profit drop sharply, while analysts warned of further headwinds from high oil prices for the country's carriers over the rest of the year.

On Friday, Guangzhou-based China Southern posted a loss of CNY285 million after a net profit of CNY196 million in the same period last year.

Revenue from principal operations, however, rose 58% to CNY8.27 billion, up from CNY5.25 billion.

China Southern said the contraction in the domestic aviation market in the fourth quarter of 2004 continued until mid-March this year, when demand gradually picked up.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA), meanwhile, reported net profit declined 73% to CNY50.4 million in the first quarter from CNY184 million in the same period a year ago.

Both carriers blamed higher oil prices as the main factor hitting their earnings. Jet fuel cost rose 91% on year in the first quarter.

China Southern warned that the "sustained high fuel price ... might climb even higher."

An analyst at a French brokerage said "domestic jet fuel is not going to come down any time soon."

The acquisition of Shenyang-based Northern Airlines Co., and Urumqi-based Xinjiang Airlines Co. by China Southern also dragged down China Southern's first quarter earnings and is likely to continue to do so, said analysts.

"In a high jet fuel price environment, we expect Northern Airlines and Xinjiang Airlines to make losses this year," said the analyst at the French brokerage.

Although there are hopes that the integration of the two carriers will eventually improve China Southern's efficiency, it will take time before costs come down, he added.

"The fleet size was enlarged to over 200 (aircraft) from 139 after the acquisition, so the fixed costs including jet fuel, maintenance, and depreciation costs have no doubt increased substantially," said Andes Cheng, an analyst at South China Research Ltd.

An analyst at a U.S.-based brokerage said deliveries of aircraft, which will peak in 2006 in China, will further raise costs for the carriers.

Earlier this month, China Southern Airlines Co. (ZNH) signed a deal with Airbus for five A380s. China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA) ordered five A319s, 11 A321s and four A320s.

But weak earnings prospects failed to dent enthusiasm in the shares of China Southern and China Eastern, both of which rose Friday on expectations of an appreciation in the yuan during the long holiday weekend. The stock market in Hong Kong and Shanghai is closed Monday for Labor Day.

In Hong Kong, China Southern finished 6.1% higher at HK$2.625, China Eastern climbed 2.8% to HK$1.47, and Air China Ltd. (0753.HK) added 1.9% to HK$2.75.

In the Shanghai bourse, China Southern gained 6.4% to CNY3.48, China Eastern rose 7.8% to CNY3.03. Hainan Airlines Co. (600221.SH) climbed 3.5% to CNY2.99, while Shanghai Airlines Co. (600591.SH) jumped 8.0% to CNY4.21.

UOB Kay Hian said in a research note that investors were buying the stocks of yuan-focused companies ahead of the holiday.

"The market suspects the weeklong Labor Day holiday offers investors the best exposure to play a bet on RMB revaluation," said UOB Kay Hian. "China Southern is the major beneficiary of RMB appreciation, ... (but all) China airline companies offer investors good exposure to bet on RMB revaluation."

The brokerage said just 10% of China Southern's revenue is denominated in U.S. dollars, but the company incurs "significant dollar and yen liabilities through aircraft procurement and leasing arrangement," it added.

Earlier Friday, Shanghai-listed Hainan Airlines Co. (600221.SH) posted a net profit of CNY90.6 million in 2004 from a net loss of HK$1.05 billion in 2003. The turnaround, in contrast to earnings by China Southern and China Eastern, came on the back of strong passenger and cargo traffic.

Hainan Airlines is 14.8% owned by American Aviation, a fund controlled by international financier George Soros.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 10:57 PM   #347
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Press Release
Free Airline Tickets Available on China Southern!
Friday April 29, 3:32 pm ET

GUANGZHOU, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 29, 2005--China Southern Airlines (NYSE:ZNH - News; HKSE:1055) (SHA:600029) -- www.cs-air.com/en -- the largest airline in The People's Republic of China is offering free airline tickets.

Available for the limited time of May 1 through October 9, passengers traveling in either Premium Business or Premium Economy and originating from Los Angeles International Airport -- will receive a free round-trip, Economy class ticket from Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh or Bangkok.

In addition, passengers connecting from San Francisco can get free round-trip Economy Class air travel to LAX, courtesy of China Southern.

During this May 1 - October 9 promotional period, China Southern is also offering a special fare from Beijing to Hong Kong (one-way) for only $100.00.

Seats are limited and restrictions do apply. This promotion is available in North America only. For additional information, please call your local travel agent or China Southern Airlines' Los Angeles office at 888-338-8988.

The largest airline in The People's Republic of China for the past 13 years, China Southern Airlines -- www.cs-air.com/en -- connects more than 80 cities around the globe. Major business and vacation destinations served in China include: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan, as well as international service, including: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 01:30 PM   #348
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Business Times - 30 Apr 2005

High fuel costs cause earnings turbulence for China airlines


HONG KONG - China Southern Airlines Co and China Eastern Airlines Corp, two of China's major state-controlled airlines, have reported first quarter earnings badly buffeted by increases in jet fuel costs.

China Southern actually went into the red, while China Eastern saw its net profit hurt, but analysts warned of further headwinds from high oil prices for the country's carriers over the rest of the year.

On Friday, Guangzhou-based China Southern posted a loss of 285 million yuan (US$34.4 million) after a net profit of 196 million yuan in the same period last year.

Revenue from principal operations, however, rose 58 per cent to 8.27 billion yuan.

China Southern said the contraction in the domestic aviation market in the fourth quarter of 2004 continued until mid-March this year, when demand gradually picked up.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines Corp, meanwhile, reported net profit declining 73 per cent to 50.4 million yuan.

Both carriers blamed higher oil prices as the main factor hitting their earnings. Jet fuel costs rose 91 per cent on year in the first quarter.

China Southern warned that the 'sustained high fuel price...Might climb even higher.'

The acquisition of Shenyang-based Northern Airlines Co, and Urumqi-based Xinjiang Airlines Co by China Southern dragged down China Southern's first quarter earnings and is likely to continue to do so.

Although there are hopes that the integration of the two carriers will eventually improve China Southern's efficiency, it will take time before costs come down, he added.

'The fleet size was enlarged to over 200 from 139 after the acquisition, the fixed costs including jet fuel, maintenance, and depreciation costs have no doubt increased substantially,' said Andes Cheng, an analyst at South China Research Ltd.

An analyst at an US-based brokerage said deliveries of aircraft will reach its peak in 2006 in China, which will further raise costs for the carriers.

Earlier this month, China Southern Airlines Co signed a deal with Airbus for five A380s - the world's largest passenger jet, which is still in development. China Eastern Airlines Corp ordered five A319s, 11 A321s and four A320s.

But weak earnings prospects failed to dent enthusiasm in the shares of China Southern and China Eastern, both of which rose Friday on expectations of an appreciation in the yuan during the long holiday weekend. The stock market in Hong Kong and Shanghai is closed on Monday for Labour Day.

In Hong Kong, China Southern finished 6.1 per cent higher, China Eastern climbed 2.8 per cent and Air China Ltd added 1.9 per cent.

In the Shanghai bourse, China Southern gained 6.4 per cent, China Eastern rose 7.8 per cent. Hainan Airlines Co climbed 3.5 per cent, while Shanghai Airlines Co jumped 8 per cent.

Shanghai-listed Hainan Airlines Co on Friday posted a net profit of 90.6 million yuan in 2004 from a net loss of HK$1.05 billion in 2003. The turnaround, in contrast to earnings by China Southern and China Eastern, came on the back of strong passenger and cargo traffic.

Hainan Airlines is 14.8 per cent owned by American Aviation, a fund controlled by international financier George Soros.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:52 PM   #349
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China's Hainan Air returns to black for 2004

SHANGHAI, April 29 (Reuters) - China's Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd., partly owned by global financier George Soros, returned to the black last year after posting a massive loss in 2003 because of the SARS outbreak.

The airline, based in the sun-drenched southern resort island of Hainan, made a net profit of 90.65 million yuan ($10.95 million) in 2004, it said in a statement on Friday in the official Shanghai Securities News.

It lost just more than 1 billion yuan in 2003, hit by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which ravaged Asia's airline industry in the first half of that year.

Turnover jumped by half to 8.41 billion yuan, but it did not say how many passengers it carried in 2004.

The airline also said it had altered 2003 figures after an accounting adjustment.

It now mainly flies to domestic destinations, but has expanded its network to include Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka and Budapest.

Hainan Air said it would add 19 aircraft this year, including Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS jets.

The chairman of Hainan Air's parent told Reuters in March that the carrier was looking at doubling its fleet size to 200 aircraft by 2010 would change its name to Grand China Air by the end of this year after absorbing three smaller airlines.

Rival China Eastern Airlines Ltd. this month also climbed out of the red for 2004.

Hainan Air's yuan-denominated A shares - open to select foreign investors - lost almost a quarter of their value in 2004, underperforming the market's 15 percent slide. ($1=8.276 yuan).
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Old April 30th, 2005, 03:04 PM   #350
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China's Shandong Air slips into Q1 loss

SHANGHAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Quarter ended March 31, 2005.
(in millions of yuan unless stated, against 2004 figures):
Code:
                                    Q1 2005      Q1 2004
 Turnover                         509.43    vs   460.75
 Net profit                (loss) (61.48)   vs     1.56
 Earnings per share (yuan) (loss)  (0.154)  vs     0.004
 Assets per share   (yuan)          1.33    vs     1.384
Company: Shandong Airlines Co. Ltd. is a regional carrier based in China's northeastern city of Jinan.

Note: The company published the unaudited results, compiled under domestic accounting standards, in the Securities Times on Saturday. It attributed its fall into the red on surging jet fuel prices. ($1=8.276 yuan)
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Old April 30th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #351
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China's Shanghai Air slips into the red in Q1

SHANGHAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Quarter ended March 31, 2005.
(in millions of yuan unless stated, against 2004 figures):

Code:
                                Q1 2005         Q1 2004
 Turnover                       1,535.55   vs 1,327.95
 Net earnings              (loss) (49.38)  vs    47.08
 Earnings per share (yuan) (loss)  (0.046) vs
(0.065)(loss)
 Assets per share   (yuan)          1.85   vs     2.55
Company: Shanghai Airlines Co. Ltd. is a regional carrier based in China's commercial capital.

Note: The company published the unaudited results, compiled under domestic accounting standards, in the Shanghai Securities News on Saturday.

It attributed its loss to a significant increase in operating costs due to a higher jet fuel bill and aviation levies. ($1=8.276 yuan)
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Old April 30th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #352
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Courting China
BY IAN PUTZGER
5 May 2005
Air Cargo World

The air over China, growing somewhat hazy from pollution in some regions, is thick with rumors this year about link-ups between Chinese and international carriers. Such marriages look like a logical fit, given international airlines' seemingly insatiable appetite for more access to China on the one hand and their Chinese counterparts' lack of resources to mount international services in significant numbers by themselves on the other.

And airlines inside and outside China are, after all, in an industry seemingly obsessed with teaming up.

Whether they come true or not, the very idea that such speculation and whatever substance is behind it suggests Asia's airlines are heading into something of a new era, one being hinted at by the carriers at the top of the rumor mill.

One of the latest bouts of wedding bells speculation has EVA Air and Shanghai Airlines planning to set up a joint venture cargo company. Both carriers admit there have been talks about this but declined to give details.

"We have been considering this market and its established domestic carriers for some time," said K.W. Nieh, executive vice president of EVA. "We have not ruled out the possibility of a more defined cooperative relationship with one or more of these carriers, but we have not formalized any agreement of this kind with any mainland Chinese carrier either."

EVA may be eager to form a partnership with a Chinese carrier because of its inability to enter today's most lucrative market on its own, since there are no traffic rights for scheduled flights between the mainland and what Beijing considers a renegade province. Shanghai Airlines would be a logical fit for the Taiwanese carrier, given their existing cooperation. The pair have been interlining freight through Macau on their daily freighter and passenger flights.

Cathay Coping

Cathay Pacific does have a presence in China, although it was a late entrant into the market, having originally left that patch for Dragonair to cultivate.

This situation, plus Cathay's acquisition of a 10 percent stake in Air China last year, fueled speculation about its long-term strategy towards China. That culminated in reports in March that had Air China taking over the Hong Kong-based carrier, with Dragonair coming into the bargain for good measure.

Both Air China and Cathay owners Swire Pacific deny such talk. Still, the possibilities of close cooperation between the two players on the cargo side look tempting.

Ron Mathison, director and general manager of Cathay Pacific Cargo, said combining their networks would create a carrier that covers China's three main gateways - Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. At this point, however, both sides are just in the early days of identifying possible synergies, he said.

A different incursion into the Chinese aviation scene is coming from the north, courtesy of Korean Air.

The carrier teamed up with China's first low-cost upstart airline, Okay Airlines, which launched passenger service from its Tianjin base to Kunming in March. Typical of low-cost entrants, Okay Airlines is flying small narrowbody equipment - 737-900 aircraft - which offers little cargo capability. In the long run, however, KAL and the Chinese upstart hope to set up cargo operations.

Ken Choi, president of KAL Cargo, said that the plan is similar to the route map followed by Jade, the joint venture cargo airline established by Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo. At this point, however, their discussions have not yielded a firm decision on aircraft types, scope of the operation or a timetable, he said.

Jade Sits

The role model for this partnership, Jade, is going to be late coming out of the starting blocks.

Originally, the founding companies envisaged operations to kick off this spring, but the launch has now been pushed back to the fall of this year. According to LH Cargo chairman Jean-Peter Jansen, this is because of a recent change in Chinese aviation regulations, which no longer allow operations with chartered aircraft.

Jade will start flying in the fall with its own planes, he said.

Jansen described Jade as a way of expanding in a growth market as opposed to expanding into such a market. Such a strategy is bound to look alluring to international carriers, who are frustrated by lack of traffic rights to China.

This is not confined to American or European airlines. Carriers such as KAL or Japan Airlines have made clear they would mount additional flights to China as soon as more traffic rights became available.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 01:46 PM   #353
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Business Times - 02 May 2005

Shanghai Airport's Q1 profit up 14%


(SHANGHAI) Shanghai International Airport Co, which owns two of China's biggest air terminals, said profit rose 14 per cent in the first quarter as travel and freight demand increased.

Net income climbed to 327.4 million yuan (S$64.8 million), or 0.17 yuan a share, from 288 million yuan, or 0.152 yuan a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange. Sales rose 17 per cent to 598.5 million yuan.

China's economy expanded 9.5 per cent in the first quarter, boosting workers' incomes and making air travel affordable to more people. Economic growth in Asia's second-biggest economy has also attracted more people from overseas to travel to Shanghai and other cities in China on business.

Shanghai International's stock has risen 14 per cent this year, against an 8.4 per cent drop on the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index.

China's air passenger traffic will probably rise 20 per cent this year to 103.8 million as the economy expands and the government allows British Airways plc and other overseas carriers more flights to and from China, the International Air Transport Association has said.

Passenger volume at Shanghai's Pudong international airport rose to 5.1 million in the first quarter, an increase of 9.8 per cent from a year ago, the company said. Cargo and mail volume rose 16 per cent to 407,500 tons. In 2004, Shanghai International's profit doubled to 1.29 billion yuan from 647.3 million yuan a year ago. - Bloomberg

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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:54 PM   #354
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China to open Beijing-Kunming-Dhaka direct air route
Xinhua's China Economic Information Service

KUNMING, April 27 (CEIS) -- China Eastern Airlines will open the Beijing-Kunming-Dhaka direct flight on May 18, the airlines' Yunnan branch announced here on April 27.

The move is a concrete step in realizing the strategy of building a thoroughfare linking China with south and southeast Asia. Operation of the flight will further promote economic, cultural and tourist exchanges between China and Bangladesh, said Wan Nengsong, deputy general manager of the China Eastern Airlines' Yunnan Branch.

Only in late March this year, the airlines began market and field investigations on the new air route and met with Bangladesh officials in this regard. "It is rare to complete preparations on opening an international air route in such a short period," Wan said.

Luo Chaogeng, general manager of the China Eastern Airlines, said, "Opening the direct air route is a fruit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Bangladesh."

Though the two countries had signed an aviation agreement before, it failed to be workable. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced Bangladesh to be a new tourist destination of China during his visit to Bangladesh early this month.

Previously, a flight from China to Bangladesh had to stop over in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Rangoon before reaching the destination.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:55 PM   #355
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Airbus to create its 4th major engineering center in China
30 April 2005
Xinhua News Agency
By Jiang Guocheng

BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Aviation giant Airbus said Saturday it would set up its fourth biggest engineering center in Beijing to do aircraft design work for its super long-range passenger plane A350.

Jean-Hugues Depigny, vice-president of customer services of Airbus China, told Xinhua that the center, which will be home to about 200 engineers, would be the second largest of its kind outside Europe after its engineering center set up in the United States.

An A350 passenger plane will carry up to approximately 300 passengers, said the vice-president.

According to a deal signed earlier this month by Airbus and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II), the engineering center will be a joint venture between the two firms, and will be located in the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone, adjacent to the offices of Airbus China.

Philippe Delmas, Airbus executive vice-president in charge of government relations, communications and external affairs, said " China has a solid foundation in aviation industry with a number of top professionals."

"We believe that the Chinese engineers, together with their peers in other Airbus engineering centers in the world, will be able to contribute significantly to the design of Airbus aircraft in the future. The engineering center will also enable China to increase substantially the contingent of world-class aircraft engineers," said Delmas.

Chinese engineers have joined their partners of Airbus in Europe to design the A318 passenger plane, and five Chinese aviation firms turned out parts for Airbus. More than half of the 3,600-strong Airbus passenger planes in service have some of their parts made in China.

Airbus's business in China has kept expanding since it first entered the country in 1985. The Airbus fleet in service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown to 281 by the end of March from just 29 in 1995.

Depigny said Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, accounts for 53 percent of passenger plane orders worldwide in 2004.

Earlier this month, three Chinese airlines have signed contracts for the purchase of 30 Airbus aircraft.

China Southern Airlines has signed with Airbus for five A380s; China Eastern Airlines has signed with Airbus for five A319s, 11 A321s and four A320s; Shenzhen Airlines has signed with China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Group Corporation (CASGC) and Airbus for three A320s and two A319s, and becomes a new client for Airbus in China.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM   #356
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Three Large Airlines Ranks at Bottom on List of Service Quality
29 April 2005

CHINA, April 29, SinoCast -- Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has announced the result of service quality of Chinese airline companies covering flight punctuality rate, the error rate of luggage and cargo transportation and the passenger complaint rate of each airline in the first quarter of 2005. Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines ranked at bottom in the three aspects separately.

The flight punctuality rate of China's civil aviation industry was 82.36%. All the airlines companies have reached the 80%, which is stipulated by CAAC, according to the related report.

Hainan Airlines ranked first with its flight punctuality rate of 85.48%. However, China Eastern Airlines ranked eighth, and China Southern Airlines ranked ninth with its flight punctuality rate of 80.70%.

In addition, Air China had the highest error rate of luggage and cargo transportation of 0.00085, while Hainan Airlines had the lowest error rate of 0.0005.

China Eastern Airlines had the highest passenger complaint rate of 0.0005, while Shenzhen Airlines had zero complaint.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 01:24 PM   #357
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Business Times - 03 May 2005

Hainan Air sees sales rising 30%


It is bullish about outlook this year as travel demand in China is surging

(SINGAPORE) Hainan Airlines Co, a Chinese carrier whose biggest shareholder is US billionaire investor George Soros, said sales this year may increase by at least 30 per cent from a year earlier, helped by rising travel demand.

China's fourth-largest carrier said last week it posted a profit last year of 90.6 million yuan (S$17.9 million), compared with a loss of 1.05 billion yuan in 2003. Sales rose 57 per cent to 8.4 billion yuan.

The figures were based on domestic accounting standards.

Traffic in China 'is very good', the airline's chairman, Chen Feng, 51, said in an interview in Singapore. 'The pattern of consumption is changing. Lots of people in China want to travel and that helps the development of the Chinese aviation industry.'

China's economy grew 9.5 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 3.14 trillion yuan, more than expected as exports and investment surged.

Air passenger traffic in China, Asia's second-largest economy, is likely to grow 7.3 per cent annually until 2023, faster than the global average of 5.2 per cent in the same period, aircraft maker Boeing Co forecasts.

Mr Chen said Boeing's forecast is 'very reasonable' and that China's airline industry will maintain a 'minimum 20 per cent growth in the next few years'.

Hainan Airlines, based on the sub-tropical island of Hainan, plans to raise as much as US$900 million by selling new shares to fund acquisitions of smaller airlines as it competes with rivals such as China Southern Airlines Co.

It will also use the money to buy new aircraft as rising income and trade are spurring demand for leisure and business travel.

Hainan Airlines has yuan-denominated A shares and US dollar-denominated B shares traded in China.

The company will offer as many as 1.5 billion shares to foreign investors and is targeting funds that are 'positive on the company's outlook and willing to hold the company's shares long term', it had said.

Mr Chen declined to comment when asked whether Mr Soros would buy the shares, adding the airline will announce 'big news in the next few months'.

'Soros is a very important shareholder,' he said.

Mr Soros, whose American Aviation Ltd has a 14.8 per cent stake in Hainan Airlines, said in January 2004 that he probably won't sell his stake in the carrier because 'it's a fine company, and I don't have enough exposure in China'.

The share sale will cut Hainan Airline's debt-to-equity ratio to about 70 per cent from 91.6 per cent, the company has said.

The plan, which will have to be approved by shareholders and the securities regulator, will be submitted to a shareholders' meeting on May 24.

The price, timetable and final size of the share sale have yet to be decided, the company said on April 23.

Hainan Airlines operates more than 500 routes in China and flies to Asian destinations including Seoul, Hong Kong and Osaka. The company said in August 2004 that it may start flights to the US this year as part of plans to expand outside Asia.

'The airline last year received approval from the government to fly between Beijing and the US,' Mr Chen said. 'We haven't decided where to fly to in the US.' - Bloomberg

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Old May 4th, 2005, 04:12 AM   #358
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China's private airlines take to the air
Paul Wiseman
03 May 2005
USA Today

CHENGDU, China -- Last year, Kai Duell gave up a successful career with Northwest Airlines to relocate here and start a private airline in a country where aviation has until now been the sole provenance of the government.

"Quite a few of my friends think I'm crazy," the CEO of start-up United Eagle Airlines says.

Duell is putting in endless hours and attending to countless details in an effort to get United Eagle Airlines off the ground. She expects to begin flights next month.

Just a few problems, though: The airline has no planes, no routes and no firm business plan.

"I don't have a formula yet to put on the table," she says. "This is new."

China's communist government last year began approving private airlines, joining a trend that has spread low-cost carriers across southern Asia the past two years. In January, the government issued rules allowing airlines to start up provided they met several requirements, including having at least three aircraft, adequate capital and no more than 25% ownership by a foreign investor.

But the bureaucrats in Beijing aren't making things easy for the newcomers. They are torn between tentatively promoting private competition and protecting China's Big Three state-owned airline groups: Air China, China Southern and China Eastern. "You can't get what you want," Duell says. "You have to go through a rigid process" to get routes and other things approved by the government.

The red tape probably means Chinese travelers won't benefit immediately from big discounts. But they are all but certain to get more flights, more choices and better service. The fare wars will likely come later.

United Eagle last year became the first private airline to get clearance to start operations in China. So far, officials have approved at least three others, although only one, Tianjin-based Okay Airlines, is actually flying.

As always in China, the potential for growth is astounding. Domestic air travel is already soaring 21% a year, fueled by a booming economy that gives businesses more reasons to fly and creates more consumers with enough money to afford air travel. The Chinese consumer has only begun to fly. A study last year by the Sydney-based consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation found that Chinese took only 0.13 flights per capita in 2003, lagging behind Malaysia (0.60), Thailand (0.25), the Philippines (0.19) and Indonesia (0.15).

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing believes that domestic air travel in China will grow 8% annually for the next 20 years and that the country's fleet of commercial airliners will rise from 780 at the end of 2003 to 2,300; of those, 1,400 are expected to be single- aisle airliners such as the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320, suitable for short-haul domestic flights.

The rapid growth has created an opportunity -- in fact, a need -- for start-up airlines. "The three large, state-run carriers can't possibly serve all of China," says Ravindran Devagunam, airline consultant with Deloitte & Touche in Singapore. "The government realizes it has to liberalize."

In some ways, China looks especially promising for start-up airlines. The domestic market is huge, with more than 140 airports; labor costs are low; and the existing competitors are stodgy state- run companies vulnerable to nimbler newcomers.

But starting an airline is hazardous in any market. "Everybody thinks they can run a start-up," Boeing's Vice President for Marketing Randy Baseler says. "Most airlines that start up fail."

China, with its economy caught somewhere between state control and a laissez-faire free-for-all, offers challenges all its own.

Into the tumult last year came Beijing-born Kai Duell (an anglicized version of her Chinese name, Zhu Kai). She joined Northwest after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and "worked in almost every department" over the years -- managing flight attendants, customer service, maintenance and Northwest operations in Beijing and Shanghai before taking a job running Northwest's international relations at the airline's hub in Detroit.

Her resume, experience in China and bilingual skills attracted the investors behind United Eagle, led by a wealthy high-tech entrepreneur from Guangdong Province. "They hunted me," she says. She spent several months weighing the offer, then took it. She moved last year to Chengdu, a slow-paced city compared with her previous postings. Chengdu, capital of southwestern China's Sichuan Province, acts as a gateway to China's underdeveloped interior and is otherwise famous for little except spicy Sichuan food.

Duell says she's proud to be involved in what she sees as a big business adventure -- prying open China's aviation market. So far, she has 150 employees, including 25 pilots and 50 flight attendants. She wants to start with three to five aircraft and expects delivery of the first -- a leased Airbus A320 -- within a few weeks.

But she can't say she's having fun yet.

Trying to formulate a strategy for the new airline, she's faced one roadblock after another. The biggest so far: The Chinese government, responding to complaints from the state-owned carriers, stopped the new airlines from poaching their pilots -- many of whom were eager to join the start-ups, where they thought they'd get more flying time and faster promotions.

Moreover, Duell says, "We cannot really position ourselves as a low-cost carrier." At least not yet. United Eagle can't undercut the state-run carriers because in China everyone pays the same rates for fuel, landing rights and navigation fees.

Her options limited for now, Duell has chosen to focus on offering first-rate service -- a big contrast with existing Chinese carriers, which are known for late arrivals and lost luggage. She's made safety a priority, planning an auditing board that will hold everyone, including herself, accountable for safety.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:16 AM   #359
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Business Times - 04 May 2005

China offers to hold talks with Taiwan on direct transport links


(SHANGHAI) China offered to hold talks to resume direct transportation links and said it may relax restrictions for travel to the island after Taiwan opposition Nationalist Party chairman Lien Chan visited China to ease more than 50 years of hostilities.

'The quicker the better,' Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, a branch of China's Cabinet, told reporters in Beijing yesterday. Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian separately invited China President Hu Jintao to visit the island.

Improved ties may help China's government achieve its goal of reclaiming the island peacefully and increasing the US$62 billion of trade with the island. For Taiwan, easing tensions may lead to greater access to markets in China, its biggest trading partner and the world's fastest-expanding major economy.
'By offering trade incentives, China hopes to further contacts with Taiwan, with Chen Shui-bian's government,' said Andrew Yang, secretary-general at the Council of Advanced Policy Studies, a Taipei-based defence research group.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Wang's agency said China plans to scrap tariffs on more than 10 types of Taiwan fruits and to expand the types of fruit allowed from the island to 18 from 12.

The most popular fruits sent now are mangoes and grapefruit. Taiwan last year exported US$895,400 of fruit - fresh, dried, canned and juiced - to China, down 8 per cent from 2003. These goods made up less than one per cent of the island's US$45 billion of exports to China in 2004.

'The proportion is really small,' said Ken Su, a Taipei-based economist with KGI Securities Co. 'The move bears greater political than economic significance.'

The rewards are greater for Mr Chen, whose biggest support base is Taiwan's farmers. Mr Chen said he would send a message to China's leaders when a second opposition leader, People First Party leader James Soong, visits China for the first time this week. He didn't disclose what the message will convey. - Bloomberg

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Old May 5th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #360
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Charter flights linking Urumqi to Japan opens
4 May 2005
Xinhua's China Economic Information Service

URUMQI, May 4 -- The maiden flight of charter plane from Urumqi, capital of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to Kumamoto of Japan during the Labor Day Holiday period took off at 8:00 am on May 1 at the Urumqi International Airport.

After six hours, the charter plane of Boeing 757, carrying 166 passengers from Japan will arrive in its destination.

The course will take 13 hours before the opening of the direct air route, said Guo Zhiqiang, vice president of the Xinjiang subsidiary company of China South Airlines.

According to Guo, 15 charter flights from Urumqi to cities of Japan including Kumamoto, Sendai, Toyama and Nagoya from May 1 to 13 will bring over 2,000 passengers from Japan to Xinjiang.

Charter flights to Japan are the second eastward international airline opened by the Xinjiang subsidiary company after the charter flights to the Republic of Korea as a move to promote local trading and tourism development, said Guo.

Guo said the charter flights to Japan will be reopened from this July and charter flights linking Urumqi to Hong Kong will open on May 15 and those to Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, Ashkhabad, capital of Turkmenistan, and Tehran, capital of Iran, will open in June.
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