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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #361
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CHINA PRESS: Local Airlines 1Q Loss CNY220M On Fuel Price
6 May 2005

BEIJING (Dow Jones)--China's civil aviation industry made a loss of CNY220 million in the first quarter of this year mainly because of a sharp rise in jet fuel prices, the Beijing News reports.

The report didn't provide a comparison figure for a year ago.

Domestic airlines' operating revenue increased 11.9% on year to CNY27.9 billion during the first three months, the report says, citing data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

But this growth was outpaced by a more than 17.3% on-year rise in total costs to CNY27.8 billion during the same period, the report says.

The sharp increase in costs was mainly because the government hiked the ex-refinery price of jet fuel by CNY430 a metric ton on March 15, the report says.

Newspaper Web site: http://www.thebeijingnews.com
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Old May 7th, 2005, 04:41 AM   #362
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Peru Aims To Sell TANS Airline Stake To Air China-Reports
6 May 2005

LIMA (Dow Jones)--The Peruvian government is promoting the sale of a stake in state-owned airline TANS to Air China Ltd. (0753.HK), reports said.

"We are in preliminary conversations with Air China for this objective," Foreign Affairs Ministry Adviser Mario Roggero was quoted as saying in government newspaper El Peruano on Friday.

Roggero told newspaper Gestion that meetings between Peruvian and Chinese officials took place on April 18 and 19.

He said the negotiations started well, but added that, "There is a long road yet."

Roggero said that the government could sell up to a 70% stake to Air China, while the Peruvian government would reserve the right to eventually sell the remaining portion.

Peru is working to boost tourism from China and to have the Lima airport become a hub for Chinese tourists wanting to visit elsewhere in South America.

"The idea is to capture Chinese tourists, which would not only allow an increase in the transport of people but also of cargo as exports grow, especially of agricultural products, to this country (China)," he told Gestion.

A second meeting, including officials of various Peruvian government departments, could take place next week, he said.

TANS Peru, run by Peru's air force, started providing flights in Peru's jungle regions in 1963. In 1998, the government decided to allow it to fly nationally. It operates a number of flights within Peru.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #363
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Martinair Cargo ups flight frequencies


Shippers Today, Mar / Apr 2005

Dutch freighter specialist Martinair Cargo will increase its frequency of two flights per week into Tianjin, North China to five flights per week. In order to meet demand, the increased frequencies will become effective in April 2005.

In September last year, Martinair Cargo successfully introduced a Boeing 747 freighter operation from Amsterdam to Tianjin. The expanded service to Tianjin is a further step in the carrier's expansion plans in the Asia Pacific region. From Tianjin the carrier will setup a trucking network including Beijing and some 20 other cities in Northern China.

Martinair Cargo delivers cargo destined for Beijing directly to New Times Warehouse at Beijing Airport, the main warehouse building for forwarders. With this dedicated service forwarders receive their shipments directly in their own warehouse, saving costs and time.

Tianjin is the third largest city of China after Beijing and Shanghai, located 140 km. west of nation's capital Beijing. Tianjin is one of the four municipalities directly under the Central Government in China and well known as the largest port city in Northern China. Tianjin is based in the so called BOHAI Rim. This Rim includes the three provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, and Shandong, all of which boast solid economies.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 05:50 AM   #364
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Air deal could see rush of Chinese visitors
Approved-destination status allows citizens to visit Canada as tourists

CP Wire
7 May 2005

THE promise of stronger travel ties between Canada and China is triggering a rush of activity in this country, as airlines and tourist destinations prepare to accommodate millions of well-heeled Chinese visitors in the coming years.

A new air agreement has prompted Air Canada to significantly increase the number of its non-stop flights to China and one of its smaller rivals -- Harmony Airways -- to apply for airspace on the route.

Those planes will be packed if Beijing finalizes plans announced earlier this year to grant Canada approved-destination status (ADS), allowing Chinese citizens to freely come to this country as tourists.

"If we can have an agreement in '05, and work to have it operational by next year, that would be ideal," says Pierre Gauthier of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a partner with Ottawa and the domestic travel industry and a key player in the talks with the Chinese.

Toronto and Vancouver, among others, seem to be counting on the success of these negotiations, already mapping strategy to lure yuan-rich visitors. The two cities have an advantage with the largest number of residents of Chinese origin -- about 350,000 in Vancouver and more than 400,000 in Toronto -- and are counting on them to welcome a lot of friends and relatives.

After that, it's a matter of marketing an attractive image and knowing what will motivate the Chinese tourist to cross the Pacific.

"The Chinese like the urban experience -- to combine business and leisure," says Bruce MacMillan, president of Tourism Toronto. "They know Toronto is Canada's business centre. I expect some will want to visit the TSE (Toronto Stock Exchange)."

"They're also going to be very fascinated by the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. And we know they're not very adventurous in their eating habits -- they like Chinese food. We can deliver that."

Vancouver has been doing its homework too. It receives about 70,000 Chinese visitors a year, and sees that figure rising to 500,000 in the next 10 to 15 years if ADS goes through.

The city is planning a "big presence" at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, says Walt Judas of Tourism Vancouver. "Because we're the next Olympics in line (in 2010) that's such a tremendous opportunity -- talk about great timing."

Other Canadian destinations are also making their pitch.

"We know the Chinese love the big cities, but nobody's got our mountains," says Derek Coke-Kerr, managing director of Travel Alberta. "The other thing is they like shopping -- and we do have the world's largest shopping centre" -- the West Edmonton Mall.

One disadvantage, he admits, is the absence of any flights between China and Alberta. "We would love to see direct flights into Calgary."

Air Canada announced recently that it is expanding its schedule to China. It already has daily non-stop flights between Vancouver and Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and between Toronto and Hong Kong.

Starting in June, it will add four non-stops a week between Toronto and Beijing, increasing to five times a week in August. Next year, the same flight will be seven days a week, as will new service between Toronto and Shanghai. Daily flights between Vancouver and Guangzhou, a city of more than six million and southern China's economic capital, is scheduled to begin in 2007.

Harmony Airways is hoping to grab a share of these routes. Right after the new air agreement between the two countries was announced April 19, the Vancouver-based carrier applied to Transport Canada for approval to get in on the action.

Though it will need new long-range aircraft to fly the Pacific, and won't say which destinations in China it covets, Harmony says it's ready to launch daily service next summer.

It, too, wants to cash in on a flood of inbound passengers because of ADS. But it also foresees westward pilgrimages of newer Canadians, much like those of European descent who crossed the Atlantic in past decades to discover the birthplace of their ancestors.

"It's going to be a huge market -- in both directions," says Harmony spokeswoman Marie McDonnell. "Second-generation Chinese-Canadians will want to go home and see where their grandparents came from."
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Old May 8th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #365
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Boeing Delivers Last 757 To Shanghai Airlines
Steven Lott
Aviation Daily
May 2, 2005

Boeing last week delivered its last 757 to Shanghai Airlines, marking the end of a 23-year run for the plane.

The last airplane is the 1,050th 757, making it one of seven commercial models that have sold more than 1,000 airplanes, and more than 1,030 of the 757s are still in service. The airplane delivered to Shanghai is the first 757 certified and delivered as a Chapter 4 airplane, meeting noise limits scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2006. The airplane is the 13th 757-200 delivered to Shanghai Airlines, which took delivery of its first 757 in August 1989.

Shanghai Airlines operates 33 Boeing jetliners -- 15 737s, 12 757-200s, five 767-300s and one 737-300 freighter. Boeing in late 2003 decided to end 757 production.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 08:36 AM   #366
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09 May 2005

Mistakes by flight crew resulted in 2002 Air China crash: probe

SEOUL : Mistakes by poorly trained flight crew caused the crash of an Air China International passenger jet in South Korea, resulting in the death of 129 people on board, aviation authorities said.

Wrapping up a three-year-long investigation, the Korea Aviation-Accident Investigation Board (KAIB) said the crew had failed to pull up and turn the plane again when they missed a right approach area.

The plane continued flying low under driving rains before smashing into a small hill near the airport, the board said in a report last week.

"The flight crew exercised poor crew resource management and lost situational awareness during the circling approach to runway 18R, which led them to fly outside of the circling approach area, delaying the base turn, contrary to the captains intention to make a timely base turn.

"The flight crew did not execute a missed approach when they lost sight of the runway during the circling approach to runway 18R, which led them to strike high terrain (mountain) near the airport," it said.

When the first officer advised the captain to execute a missed approach about five seconds before impact, the captain did not react, nor did the first officer initiate the missed approach himself, according to the report.

The independent investigative body added in an appendix to the 151-page report that poor weather conditions and the airport's automatic altitude warning system could have been contributing factors.

The B767-200 aircraft was completely destroyed by crash impact and a post-crash fire after it crashed during a circling approach on a hill at Gimhae International Airport on April 15, 2002.

Of the 166 persons on board, 37 persons including the captain and two flight attendants survived, while the remaining 129 occupants including two copilots were killed.- AFP /ls

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:36 AM   #367
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China Southern Air April passenger traffic up 43.8 pct yr-on-yr at 3.63 mln
9 May 2005

BEIJING (AFX) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (SHA 600029; HK 1055; ADR ZNH), the country's largest air-carrier, said it carried 3.63 mln passengers in April, up 43.8 pct year-on-year.

For the first four months, the Guangzhou-based airline company said it carried 13.09 mln passengers, up 46.4 pct from a year earlier.

But the airline's overall load factor, which measures passenger and freight as compared to capacity, fell 1.4 percentage points in April from the same month of last year to 64.3 pct. The airline's passenger load factor was down 2.1 percentage points in April from a year earlier to 70.3 pct.

The overall load factor for the January-April period edged up 0.1 percentage point year-on-year to 61.5 pct, while the airline's passenger load factor was up 0.7 percentage point to 67.9 pct.

China Southern said its cargo throughput in April alone rose 31.8 pct year-on-year to 68,140 tons and was up 29.2 pct to 226,380 tons for the first four months.

The company announced previously that it had a net loss of 285 mln yuan for the first quarter on the back of higher jet fuel costs and weak demand.

(1 usd = 8.3 yuan)
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:20 PM   #368
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A Bidding Battle for 65% Stake in Shenzhen Airlines
10 May 2005

SHENZHEN, May 10, SinoCast -- Which will be a successful bidder for a 65% stake in Shenzhen Airlines Co., Ltd. will be announced on May 23, when the Shenzhen Enterprise Ownership Exchange Center will auction it.

On April 20, the SEOEC said in an opening statement that it was commissioned to auction the stake on April 29. Three days later, it put off the auction until May 23.

Though Shenzhen Airlines is a regional airline based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, Southern China, it has been rarely profitable for ten consecutive years in China. It achieved profit after tax of CNY 330 million in 2003 and CNY 200 million in 2004, ranked first by profit margin in the industry, and exceeded the top three air titans in the country including China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd. (NYSE: ZNH, SEHK: 1055, and SHSE: 600029), Air China Ltd. (SEHK: 0753), and China Eastern Airlines Corporation Ltd. (NYSE: CEA, SEHK: 0670, and SHSE: 600115).

Shenzhen Airlines shows a strong presence in Southern China. It has four air bases, 27 aircrafts, and more than 80 routes. To become the successful bidder ultimately will be certain to make the buyer a player in the Chinese aviation industry.

The stake has proved a bonanza for its owner Guangdong Holding Group. The sale of the stake raises a question: Why the airline's bigger shareholder decides to sell so quality assets.

That is associated with the shareholder's parent company Guangdong Development Bank, which is working on its reorganization. In China, Guangdong Development Bank, as a commercial bank, is barred from making investments in non-bank financial institutions and companies according to the nation's Commercial Bank Law, a SEOEC executive close to the auction told reporters.

In addition, Guangdong Holding Group imposes severe requirements on bidders for the stake - such a bidder must reach net assets of at least CNY 1.5 billion and total assets of at least CNY 3 billion, submit its audited 2003 and 2004 fiscal reports, and have enough payment capacity, healthy financial condition, and high credit.

The lowest bid is likely to be CNY 1.6 billion, estimate industry experts.

The companies seen as the likely buyers for the airline are Hainan Airlines Co., Ltd. (SHSE: 600221), Air China, Eastern Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (SEHK: 0293), Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd., Sinotrans Ltd. (SEHK: 0598), Contemporary Group, CITIC Group, American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), and Citibank.

Air China is the second biggest shareholder in Shenzhen Airlines, with a 25% stake, and has an option to acquire the stake. Hence, it is regarded as the most likely buyer.

A Shenzhen Airlines executive disclosed that when Guangdong Holding Group intended to sell the stake in 2004, the two airlines were in contact but did not reach accord on the acquisition price.

Air China has opened its base in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport vying with rival Southern Airlines, whose hub is the airport. If the former won the auction, it would hold a 90% stake in Shenzhen Airlines, cover the airline's turfs in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, two large aviation markets, and rise to become a powerful player in Southern China posing a direct threat to Southern Airlines.

To the contrary, if Southern Airlines became a winner in the bidding battle, it would consolidate its territory in the south market.

In recent years, the limits to investments in the Chinese aviation industry have been cracking open. Naturally, Hong Kong- based airlines Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragon Airlines cast their eyes to Southern Airlines.

For a foreign airline, to buy a stake in an airline in Mainland China is a short cut of moving into the market. Regulators cap foreign ownership in a mainland airline at 25% at best, according to a foreign investment rule about Chinese airlines.

Besides, Contemporary Group would take over Shenzhen Airlines, said a source. Zhang Peng, a Contemporary Group executive, said in an interview that to march into the aviation industry was the group's designed strategy and the company had much confidence in the industry.

The group is a Beijing private company, extending reach into a wide range of industries such as real estate, contract administration, aviation, medicine, water, and finance. If it became a final winner, Shenzhen Airlines would turn into the largest private airline in China.

(USD 1 = CNY 8.28)
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Old May 11th, 2005, 05:06 AM   #369
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AFX News Limited
China Southern Airlines to buy 45 Boeing aircraft
05.10.2005, 10:29 PM

BEIJING (AFX) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (SHA 600029; HK 1055; ADR ZNH) said it will purchase a total of 45 aircraft from Boeing Co.

China Southern Airlines, one of the country's top three airlines, said in a statement the deal includes 12 B737-700s - which have a catalog price of 50.5 to 59 mln usd per aircraft; and 33 B737-800s, with a catalog price of 61.5-69.5 mln.

It did not say what discounts off the catalog price it won in negotiations with Boeing.

The statement said 15 of the aircraft will be ordered for Xiamen Airlines, China Southern Airlines' subsidiary.

China Southern Airlines said the new aircraft will boost capacity by 15 pct. It added that funding will come mostly from bank loans, without providing further details.

Boeing will deliver all the aircraft between 2006 and 2008, China Southern Airlines added.

China Southern Airlines carried 3.63 mln passengers in April, up 43.8 pct year-on-year.

For the first four months, the Guangzhou-based airline carried 13.09 mln passengers, up 46.4 pct from a year earlier.

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Old May 11th, 2005, 05:08 AM   #370
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Hong Kong Express Airways receives approval to Operate Scheduled Flights to Mainland China

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 10 May 2005


Hong Kong Express Airways has received approval from the Hong Kong Economic Development and Labour Bureau to operate scheduled air services to 5 cities in China including Guangzhou, Hangzhou Chongqing, Nanjing and Ningbo.

Hong Kong Express plans to launch scheduled flights to Guangzhou early September followed quickly by flights to Hangzhou in early October. The arrival of the first aircraft, an Embraer 170 is expected late July. The airline will initially use the aircraft on charter routes prior to commencement of its first scheduled service. The second aircraft is due for delivery early September.

Featuring a one class seat configuration consisting of 76 leather clad seats, Hong Kong Express Airways aims to please both the business sector as well as the growing leisure market by offering regular flights to popular cities within China.

Commenting on this latest development, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Express, Mr Andrew Tse said, “We are pleased with this latest development, we are now able to participate and promote Hong Kong as an international and regional hub for both international and local passengers. Our preparations are well on track, our team of airline professionals is in place and we look forward to the arrival of our first aircraft in July.”
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Old May 11th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #371
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China Southern Air says to buy 45 Boeing aircraft

SHANGHAI, May 11 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. , China's largest carrier by fleet size, said on Wednesday it and a unit had signed agreements to buy 45 Boeing Co. aircraft at a cost of up to $3 billion. The aircraft would be delivered between 2006 and 2008, China Southern said in a statement published in the official Shanghai Securities News.

China Southern will buy 12 of Boeing's 737-700 aircraft and 33 of the 737-800 aircraft, it said. Fifteen of the 737-800 craft will be delivered to China Southern's unit, Xiamen Airlines.

The list price for the short-to-medium range 737-700 craft was $50.5 million to $59 million, while the price for the 737-800 aircraft was $61.5 million to $69.5 million, China Southern said.

"The purchases would increase China Southern's capacity by 15 percent," China Southern said in the statement.

The airlines would use bank loans to buy the aircraft, but had yet to sign any agreements with lenders, it said, adding it would disclose related information later.

China Southern's Shanghai-listed shares closed at 3.58 yuan on Tuesday.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 04:31 AM   #372
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Shanghai-Moscow direct flight opens
11 May 2005
Xinhua's China Economic Information Service

SHANGHAI, May 11 (CEIS) -- The China Eastern Airlines began on May 11 to offer direct flights between Shanghai and Moscow, according to a company official.

This is the first direct flight service between the two cities.

Flights from Shanghai will leave every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Airbus A340-300s will be employed to fly the route, according to the official. The aircraft takes off from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 2:40 p.m. Beijing Time and land in Moscow at 8:40 p.m. local time. The return flight starts from Moscow at 10:10 p. m. in local time and ends in Shanghai at 11:10 a.m. in Beijing Time.

The new flight was started in order to meet the demand of Chinese tourists to eastern Europe, said the official.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #373
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Business Times - 12 May 2005

Virgin Blue ends talks with Air Macau

Attempt to set up joint venture budget carrier fails

(HONG KONG) Virgin Blue Holdings, Australia's second largest carrier, ended talks to set up a budget carrier in Macau, a month after Patrick Corp gained control of the five-year-old airline.

'We've participated in discussions for several months to examine the feasibility of a joint venture operation,' Amanda Bolger, a spokeswoman for the Brisbane-based airline, said yesterday. 'However, ultimately, we couldn't reach an agreement and formally and amicably ended our discussions last Friday.' She didn't give further details.

Patrick, Australia's biggest port-cargo handler, last month gained control of Virgin Blue after making a hostile A$1.1 billion (S$1.32 billion) takeover bid. Chief executive Chris Corrigan, 57, who first invested in Virgin Blue in 2002, said on Feb 3 that he would end the airline's 'suicidal' expansion plans.

Macau is attracting more tourists after the government ended local tycoon Stanley Ho's 42-year casino monopoly in 2002, granting licences to Las Vegas billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

Air Macau, the sole carrier operating from the former Portuguese colony, has held talks with Virgin Blue and two other airline ventures.

Air Macau plans to share traffic rights with airlines that are starting up in the city, Simon Chan, acting president of Macau's Civil Aviation Authority, said on April 18. The airline was given a 25-year exclusive operating licence in 1995.

Virgin Blue had also held talks with Shun Tak Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company that's controlled by Mr Ho.

The end of the venture talks will be viewed positively by Virgin Blue shareholders, said George Clapham, who helps manage the equivalent of US$310 million, including airline stocks, at ABN Amro Asset Management in Sydney.

'Most people would prefer them to get their domestic business in order,' Mr Clapham said yesterday. 'That should be their focus.'

UK billionaire Richard Branson, 54, started Virgin Blue in 2000 with US$10 million and two planes. The collapse of Air New Zealand's Australian unit, Ansett, helped Virgin Blue increase its share of the domestic air travel market to about 30 per cent.

Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey, 42, on Jan 19 lowered his earnings forecast for a second time, sending the airline's shares tumbling 13 per cent. - Bloomberg

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #374
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Air Canada starts non-stop Toronto-Beijing service
13 May 2005
The Globe and Mail

Air Canada has announced that its first non-stop flights from Toronto to Beijing will begin June 3.

The flights will be the first to directly connect China's mainland with points in Canada as far east as Ontario, the Xinhua news agency reports.

Air Canada will offer three flights a week in June, increasing to four per week in July.

The airline plans to step up its non-stop passenger service between Toronto and Beijing to daily flights by 2006.

Daily non-stop passenger services between Toronto and Shanghai are planned to run from 2006, and between Vancouver and Guangzhou from 2007.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 08:26 PM   #375
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China Eastern and Spain's Air Europa sign code-sharing agreement - Xinhua
12 May 2005

BEIJING (AFX) - China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd and Air Europa have signed a code-sharing agreement on air routes linking Madrid, Shanghai and Beijing from May 22, Xinhua news agency reported.

The agreement will enable China Eastern to expand its aviation network in Europe while Air Europa, Spain's third largest airline, hopes to increase ticket sales in China through China Eastern's sales network, Xinhua said.

The new service was made possible thanks to an agreement reached in late November between Spain and China to increase the number of weekly direct flights between the two countries.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 05:40 AM   #376
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HSBC signs aircraft financing deal with China Eastern Airlines - Xinhua
13 May 2005

BEIJING (AFX) - HSBC has signed a financing agreement with China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd for the purchase of two new Airbus A320 aircraft, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The loans will require no guarantee, Xinhua said, adding that this is the first no-guarantee required agreement HSBC has signed with a Chinese carrier.

No further details were provided.

Last month, China Eastern signed an agreement to buy 15 new A320s in a deal worth about 6.9 bln yuan, with payment to be made in instalments and funded principally through financing arrangements with banking institutions.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:11 AM   #377
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Beijing Capital says April passengers up 11 pct yr/yr

HONG KONG, May 13 (Reuters) - Beijing Capital International Airport Co. Ltd. said on Friday that 3.25 million passengers passed through the airport in April, up 11 percent from the same month last year.

April passenger traffic grew slightly from the previous month, when 3.17 million passengers came through the airport.

For the first four months, a total of 11.98 million passengers passed through the airport, up 16.2 percent.

Cargo jumped 15.7 percent to 67,351 tonnes in April.

Beijing Airport shares were flat in late afternoon trade at HK$2.82 amid a declining broader market.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #378
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Home to China's terracotta warriors plans ambitious airport expansion

BEIJING, May 15 (AFP) - Xian, the big northwest Chinese city famed as the home of the terracotta warriors, plans to run one of Asia' busiest airports by 2020, state media reported Sunday.

The Xianyang International Airport has started an expansion project that will allow it to handle 26 million passengers annually in a decade and a half, the Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua did not indicate what factors would boost passenger numbers over the coming years, but pointed to high growth rates in recent years.

The airport currently has a capacity of 10 million passengers and last year handled 6.4 million, up 44.6 percent from the year before, according to Xinhua.

Reaching a capacity of 26 million passengers a year would place the airport firmly on Asia's aviation map.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 07:27 AM   #379
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Wooing the Chinese: Canada-China new freeway in the sky
The Canadian Press
14 May 2005

The promise of stronger travel ties between Canada and China is triggering a rush of activity in this country, as airlines and tourist destinations prepare to accommodate millions of well-heeled Chinese visitors in the coming years.

A new air agreement has prompted Air Canada to significantly increase the number of its non-stop flights to China and one of its smaller rivals -- Harmony Airways -- to apply for airspace on the route.

Those planes will be packed if Beijing finalizes plans announced this year to grant Canada approved-destination status (ADS), allowing Chinese citizens to freely come to this country as tourists.

"If we can have an agreement in '05, and work to have it operational by next year, that would be ideal," says Pierre Gauthier of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a partner with the federal government and the domestic travel industry and a key player in the talks with the Chinese.

Toronto and Vancouver, among others, seem to be counting on the success of these negotiations, already mapping strategy to lure yuan-rich visitors. The two cities have an advantage with the largest number of residents of Chinese origin -- about 350,000 in Vancouver and more than 400,000 in Toronto -- and are counting on them to welcome a lot of friends and relatives.

After that, it's a matter of marketing an attractive image and knowing what will motivate the Chinese tourist to cross the Pacific.

"The Chinese like the urban experience -- to combine business and leisure," says Bruce MacMillan, president of Tourism Toronto. "They know Toronto is Canada's business centre. I expect some will want to visit the TSE (Toronto Stock Exchange)."

"They're also going to be very fascinated by the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. And we know they're not very adventurous in their eating habits -- they like Chinese food. We can deliver that."

Vancouver has been doing its homework too. It receives about 70,000 Chinese visitors a year, and sees that figure rising to 500,000 in the next 10 to 15 years if ADS goes through.

The city is planning a "big presence" at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, says Walt Judas of Tourism Vancouver. "Because we're the next Olympics in line (in 2010) that's such a tremendous opportunity -- talk about great timing."

Other Canadian destinations are also making their pitch.

"We know the Chinese love the big cities, but nobody's got our mountains," says Derek Coke-Kerr, managing director of Travel Alberta. "The other thing is they like shopping -- and we do have the world's largest shopping centre" -- the West Edmonton Mall.

One disadvantage, he admits, is the absence of any flights between China and Alberta. "We would love to see direct flights into Calgary."

Air Canada announced recently that it is expanding its schedule to China. It already has daily non-stop flights between Vancouver and Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and between Toronto and Hong Kong. Starting in June, it will add four non-stops a week between Toronto and Beijing, increasing to five times a week in August. Next year, the same flight will be seven days a week, as will new service between Toronto and Shanghai. Daily flights between Vancouver and Guangzhou, southern China's economic capital, is scheduled to begin in 2007.

Harmony Airways is hoping to grab a share of these routes. Right after the new air agreement between the two countries was announced April 19, the Vancouver-based carrier applied to Transport Canada for approval to get in on the action.

Though it will need new long-range aircraft to fly the Pacific, and won't say which destinations in China it covets, Harmony says it's ready to launch daily service next summer.

It too wants to cash in on a flood of inbound passengers because of ADS. But it also foresees westward pilgrimages of newer Canadians, much like those of European descent who crossed the Atlantic in past decades to discover the birthplace of their ancestors.

"It's going to be a huge market -- in both directions," says Harmony spokesperson Marie McDonnell. "Second-generation Chinese-Canadians will want to go home and see where their grandparents came from."
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Old May 17th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #380
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China's Sichuan Airlines to buy 8 Airbus planes

SHANGHAI, May 17 (Reuters) - Chinese airline Sichuan Airlines Group Co. Ltd. will buy eight planes from Airbus SAS for delivery between 2005 and 2008, a spokesman for Airbus in China said on Tuesday.

Sichuan Airlines would buy six A320 planes and two A319s, Airbus spokesman Gu Wei told Reuters. He didn't comment on the value of the deal.

The list price of an A320 is between $57.6 million and $61.6 million, while the list price of an A319 is between $50.6 million and $61.2 million.

Chinese freight forwarder Sinotrans Ltd. said in March that its Shanghai-listed subsidiary Sinotrans Air Transportation Development Co. Ltd. would buy 49 percent of the registered capital of Sichuan Airlines.

Asia is a key battleground for Airbus, the world's leading commercial jet maker, and its chief rival, Boeing .
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