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Old November 10th, 2007, 12:29 PM   #341
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China to raise airline fuel surcharge from Nov. 5

BEIJING, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- China will allow its domestic airlines to increase fuel surcharge starting from next Monday to offset the pressure of oil price hikes on the aviation industry.

The passenger fuel surcharge will be raised from 50 yuan per passenger for flights within 800 kilometers to 60 yuan. For long haul flights, the fee will rise from 80 yuan to 100 yuan.

The newly approved surcharges will take effect from Nov. 5, according to a joint circular issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's economic planner, and the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC).

The government's decision to raise prices of gasoline, diesel oil and jet kerosene by 500 yuan per ton from this month boosted fuel expense, which already accounted for 44 percent of the total cost in September, said sources with CAAC.

Ma Xiaoli, an analyst with Citic Securities, estimated, based on the analysis in 2006, that when the oil price climbs 100 yuan per ton, the net profit will be reduced by 220 million yuan for the China Eastern Airlines, 250 million yuan for the China Southern Airlines, and 180 million yuan for the Air China.

Fuel surcharge is a type of aviation tariff which requires the approval of relevant aeronautical authorities before it could be levied. (One U.S. dollar equals to 7.46 yuan)
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Old November 11th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #342
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Xinhua News:
Air China to begin daily nonstop flights between Beijing, Macao
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #343
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China Eastern to begin Shanghai-Brisbane flights

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- China Eastern Airlines, the country's third-largest carrier, has said it will begin semiweekly fights from Shanghai to Brisbane, Australia on Nov. 21.

An Airbus A340-300 will be used, said the company. The aircraft will depart Shanghai for Brisbane on Wednesdays and Fridays and return on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The new service, which makes China Eastern the first Chinese mainland carrier to run direct flights to Brisbane, will operate till February 20 next year when the company will decide whether to carry it on according to market conditions.

The service will increase China Eastern's flights to Australia to 11 a week.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #344
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Mainland airlines still have a long way to go
12 November 2007
South China Morning Post

Those who often fly on mainland airlines have probably accumulated as many nightmarish stories of delays or cancellations as they have frequent flyer miles.

Mainland airlines have certainly come a long way since the old days when CAAC, the acronym for the civil aviation regulator and operator, was jokingly said to mean "Chinese airlines always cancel".

Nowadays, CAAC functions only as the regulator, and the world's fastest-growing aviation industry is dominated by three big carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

The three, all listed in Hong Kong, have been busy expanding their fleets with new Boeing and Airbus passenger jets, and forming alliances with major overseas carriers to show they are in a different league now. China Eastern has just sealed a long-awaited deal to sell a 24 per cent stake to Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings for about HK$7.12 billion.

But improvements in their services have been painfully incremental. In the past, CAAC cancelled flights arbitrarily without bothering to tell passengers why. Now, airline staff fob them off by uttering the magic words "mechanical problems".

The following two stories involving China Eastern are vivid illustrations of what goes wrong with mainland airlines.

On the morning of November 7, I arrived at Shanghai Pudong airport a little more than one hour before the 9.50am China Eastern flight MU505 to Hong Kong. After waiting at a seat no more than 20 metres from the boarding gate for nearly an hour without hearing the boarding call for the flight, I went to the check-in counter and found a hand-written notice saying the flight was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties with the plane.

The check-in staff initially refused to say which flight was available for the stranded passengers and, after being pressed, said the passengers would be put on the 1pm MU705 flight to Hong Kong.

Because I knew China Eastern had three other flights before the 1pm one, and none of them was full, I protested and pleaded and finally got a seat on MU703 at 11.15am. As I was running and approaching the boarding gate, a voice broadcast announced that MU703 was delayed because of the late arrival of the aircraft. Imagine my relief when my flight, with a flying time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, finally took off at noon.

My issue here is that during those hours of waiting, no explanation or apology was given except for the magic words "mechanical problems".

The mystery over the "mechanical problems" was solved yesterday when the Beijing News reported a rare victory for passengers who were on flight MU5711 from Lijiang to Beijing on Friday. They took the initiative to investigate after their flight was delayed, managed to catch the airline lying and forced it to apologise and pay compensation.

The flight, which took off from Lijiang at 5.30pm, landed in Kunming one hour later for a scheduled stopover. Instead of picking up passengers and cargo to continue to its destination, the 140 passengers were told to leave the plane.

The report said one astute woman surnamed Li noted the unique number assigned to and painted on the body of each passenger jet - B5242 in this case.

After being herded into the airport lounge, the passengers were told the flight was delayed because of "mechanical problems". Some suspicious passengers urged China Eastern staff to produce a formal statement with a company chop.

Several hours later, their suspicions were confirmed when they found out that a plane with the body number B5242 was flying to another city.

The angry passengers confronted the airline staff, who were forced to issue a second statement with a chop admitting the first statement was a lie, and later agreed to pay each passenger 2,000 yuan. The flight finally landed in Beijing after a delay of 12 hours, the report said. It quoted an aviation lawyer saying that based on the two conflicting statements, China Eastern could be sued for commercial fraud.

Airline officials said they were investigating, the report said.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #345
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Air China Oct Passengers 3.11 Mln; Up 6% On Year
12 November 2007

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)-- Air China Ltd. (0753.HK) said Monday it carried 3.11 million passengers in October, 6% more than in October last year.

The Beijing-based airline also said in a statement its cargo shipments in October rose 5.4% from a year earlier to 79,354 metric tons.

Year-earlier figures weren't provided.

Air China said the number of passengers on its domestic routes rose 7.2% in October while those on international routes increased 5.2%. Passengers on its flights between China and Hong Kong and Macau, however, fell 6.5%.

Between January and October, China's national flag carrier transported 29.39 million passengers, up 10.8% from 26.54 million in the same period last year.

In October, Air China's passenger load factor, or the proportion of seats filled on its flights, rose 4.1 percentage points from a year earlier to 83.2%.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #346
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China Eastern dives as investors deem high valuation not justified
13 November 2007
South China Morning Post

Shares of China Eastern Airlines Corp dropped 17.17 per cent yesterday, reflecting losses other mainland airlines had suffered since the carrier's shares were suspended from trading last week.

High fuel prices are set to dent airline profits in the fourth quarter and beyond.

"Although the introduction of Singapore Airlines [as an investor] is a significant positive development, we believe its valuation looks stretched and cannot be justified for what is effectively an ailing carrier," Andrew Au, a transport analyst for Cazenove, said in an email.

China Eastern trades at 13 times its net asset value even after the acquisition is completed.

The deal that sees the airline company selling a 24 per cent stake to Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings was sealed on Friday.

"The done deal will dim hopes of a consolidation among the big three [mainland carriers], which is the catalyst backing the airlines' high valuations," said another transport analyst.

China Eastern fell to HK$6.37 yesterday from HK$7.69, its closing price on November 2. Trading was suspended since, pending the final agreement on the share sale.

Airline stocks sank substantially last week after Beijing allowed jet fuel prices to rise 500 yuan or about 10 per cent per tonne on October 31. China Southern Airlines shares slipped 17.45 per cent and Air China's lost 16.45 per cent last week.

Yesterday, China Southern ended the day 4.51 per cent lower at HK$8.04, while Air China closed at HK$8.34, down 8.75 per cent.

Jet fuel expenses account for 35 per cent to 38 per cent of total operating costs of mainland airlines compared with 30 per cent or less for international rivals.

Although Beijing allowed airlines to raise passenger fuel surcharges 20 per cent from November 5, the fuel surcharges compensate only half of the rise in fuel costs.

High fuel costs will hurt China Eastern and China Southern more than Air China, which has hedged part of its jet fuel costs through international forward contracts.

But the yuan's appreciation and the Beijing Olympic Games next year could provide a cushion for the carriers. The yuan's strength could cut the airlines' dollar debts while the games would boost passenger traffic to the mainland next year.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 12:40 PM   #347
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Shanghai Airlines in Star Alliance livery.


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Old November 13th, 2007, 03:06 PM   #348
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China's Hangzhou airport starts 7 bln yuan expansion
12 November 2007

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Construction of the second phase expansion of Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HXIA), which, is projected to cost around 7 bln yuan, has begun, the civil aviation regulator said.

The airport, 35 pct owned by the Hong Kong Airport Authority, will be able to handle passenger traffic of 25.6 mln people annually when the expansion project is completed in 2011, the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) said in a statement.

That will more than triple the airport's current capacity of around 7 mln, the CAAC said.

The expansion will also boost the airpot's annual cargo handling capacity to 500,000 tons and aircraft movements to 260,000 by 2011, the CAAC added.

HXIA, located in the eastern province of Zhejiang and close to Shanghai, is the country's eighth largest airport by passenger numbers.

(1 usd = 7.41 yuan)
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Old November 14th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #349
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Boom cycle for aviation industry likely to last to 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) – This round of boom cycle for aviation industry in China may last to 2012, said Luo Zhuping, secretary to the chairman of board of director of China Eastern Airlines.

According to Luo, this round of boom cycle for aviation industry started in 2005, and the release of transport capacity of aircraft is controlled well at present. According to international practice, the development speed of aviation industry is usually 1.5 times that of GDP. Sustained development of Chinese economy has offered fundamental support to development of the country’s aviation industry. China now has about 1,000 aircraft in traffic, compared with its population, the development space of aviation market is huge. It is expected that China’s aviation industry will maintain an average annual growth of over 10 percent in the next few years.

Meanwhile, appreciation of RMB yuan is bringing airline companies one-time remittance profit. As long as RMB yuan appreciates, airline companies will keep drawing profit.

According to statistics of Civil Aviation Administration of China ( CAAC), China’s civil aviation industry generated 13.72 billion yuan in profit in the first three quarters of this year, thanks to growth of business volume and decrease of unit cost.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #350
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China Southern formally joins SkyTeam



BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) - China Southern Airlines joined the SkyTeam Alliance on Thursday, the first Chinese mainland airlines that formally joins an international airline alliance.

It is reported that it costs China Southern over 100 million yuan to join the alliance after some 100 rounds of negotiations in the past three years.

“Despite the over 100 million yuan spent on joining the alliance, we are confident to recover the cost and generate profits in a year.” a source with China Southern said.

A relevant official with China Southern disclosed that after China Southern joins SkyTeam, the company will share the flight line network of 11 large airline companies in the alliance, enabling it to arrive over 700 cities of 149 countries.

China Southern currently has some 1,400 flights taking off each day, shuttling between some 180 cities worldwide.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:34 AM   #351
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500th Airbus A330 aircraft delivered to Chinese airline

BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The 500th A330 aircraft manufactured by Airbus was delivered to Hainan Airlines (HNA) Thursday, the HNA Group said here.

The French-made aircraft, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, is HNA's first A330. The 222-seat plane is capable of flying 12,500 kilometers, roughly the distance from Beijing to New York.

HNA Group Chairman Chen Feng said the company would acquire 10 A330 aircraft over the next two years to expand its international and domestic business.

The HNA Group, with 136 aircraft operating over nearly 500 routes, is China's fourth largest airline. It currently has 12 A319 Airbus planes and another 98 Airbus aircraft on order.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #352
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Mainland carriers told to improve profitability
16 November 2007
South China Morning Post

A senior mainland government official yesterday reminded the country's airlines that they were in business to make money.

"Airline mergers are company moves, not government moves," said Li Rongrong, head of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, at a ceremony in Beijing to mark China Southern Airlines' entry into SkyTeam, one of the big three airline alliances. "I just want them to report more profit."

His comments come at a time when mainland airlines are in a dogfight for market position.

Air China, the country's most profitable airline, is seeking to beef up its fleet and market share to fend off competition from international carriers when Beijing allows more US airlines to fly to the mainland.

In the third quarter, Air China posted a 93 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to 2.18 billion yuan, excluding one-off gains from its disposal of a stake in Hong Kong Dragon Airlines last year.

China Southern posted a 49 per cent rise in net third-quarter profit to 1.88 billion yuan, while China Eastern said earnings rose 98.67 per cent to 976.5 million yuan. But adjusting for yuan appreciation, which effectively reduces the impact of their US dollar loans, China Southern and China Eastern saw operating deficits.

"It is hard to accept when the economy is in such good shape - but those two carriers are still performing so badly," said Kelvin Lau, an aviation analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research.

He said mainland airlines might perform better when Beijing implemented its long-awaited policy of reducing aircraft import tax.

At yesterday's ceremony, China Southern chief financial officer Xu Jiebo said the airline was unlikely to make a profit in the fourth quarter because foreign exchange gains would probably not cover its operating loss.

Winter is considered a low season for air travel, and high oil costs are making life even tougher by pushing up jet fuel costs. China Southern posted a 1.86 billion yuan loss in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Guangzhou-based carrier flew 15 per cent more passengers in the first 10 months of this year than in the same period last year, boosted by the mainland's strong economic growth.

China Southern's entry into SkyTeam gives it access to 791 destinations in 162 countries served by the 10-member grouping that includes Air France, Continental Airlines and Korean Air.

China Southern plans to add five overseas destinations including Newark, New Jersey and Moscow by the end of 2009. It has also placed orders for 110 aircraft - 80 Boeing 737s, 20 Airbus 320s and 10 A330s - that will expand its fleet 43 per cent by 2013.

Air China is to join Star Alliance, the largest grouping, by the end of this year.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 04:53 PM   #353
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Air China To Launch Regular Flights To North Korea
17 November 2007

BEIJING (AFP)--Flag carrier Air China (0753.HK) will launch three weekly flights to North Korea from early next year, state media reported Sunday, signalling gradually warming ties between the two nations.

Flight CA121 will leave Beijing for the North Korean capital of Pyongyang every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing Zhang Lan, vice president of Air China.

"The new route will offer convenience for the exchanges and cooperation between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in culture, education and technology," said Zhang, using North Korea's official name.

Air Koryo, North Korea's flag carrier, is currently the only airline plying the route.

China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. (1055.HK), the nation's largest carrier by fleet size, previously also transported passengers between the two cities but later halted operations.

According to South Korean and Japanese media, this happened in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons test in October 2006.

The fact that flights are now being resumed could indicate Chinese satisfaction with North Korea's stance towards international efforts at disarming its nuclear capability, analysts say.

North Korea is now declaring and disabling its nuclear arsenal as part of a landmark six-nation deal under which it is given energy aid assurances and diplomatic and security guarantees in return for abandoning its weapons.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 06:47 AM   #354
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Airports in northeast China closed by heavy snow storms
19 November 2007

BEIJING (AP) - Snowstorms across northeast China forced the brief closure Monday of three airports, stranding more than 1,000 travelers for hours.

Shenyang and Taiping airports were shut for about four hours, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Changchun's airport, located between the two other cities, closed for a shorter period, Xinhua said.

Visibility was reduced to as little as about 985 feet during the storm, which also forced the closure of several highways around Shenyang, about 370 miles northeast of Beijing.

Temperatures in the northeast, which encompasses much of the area formerly known as Manchuria, are expected to fall as low as 1 degree above zero this week, Xinhua said.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #355
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China Southern to launch Urumchi-Ashkhabad air service next month

URUMQI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China Southern Airlines, one of the country's largest carriers, announced Tuesday that it would launch a new service from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to Turkmenistan's capital, Ashkhabad, from Dec. 18.

The new route means that Urumchi will have flights to the capitals of all five Central Asian countries. The other four flights are to Almaty, Bishkek, Dushanbe and Tashkent, said an official with China Southern.

The flight of more than 2,700 km will take about three hours.

The official said the new route was "a significant step for China Southern to expand its international flights." The route would "play an important role for air network development in Central Asia and Europe", the official added.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
China Southern formally joins SkyTeam



BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) - China Southern Airlines joined the SkyTeam Alliance on Thursday, the first Chinese mainland airlines that formally joins an international airline alliance.

It is reported that it costs China Southern over 100 million yuan to join the alliance after some 100 rounds of negotiations in the past three years.

“Despite the over 100 million yuan spent on joining the alliance, we are confident to recover the cost and generate profits in a year.” a source with China Southern said.

A relevant official with China Southern disclosed that after China Southern joins SkyTeam, the company will share the flight line network of 11 large airline companies in the alliance, enabling it to arrive over 700 cities of 149 countries.

China Southern currently has some 1,400 flights taking off each day, shuttling between some 180 cities worldwide.


Sadly their website is still really awful. How do people book flights with China Southern?

Compare China Southern with these other SkyTeam airlines:

http://www.csair.com/en/
http://www.continental.com
http://www.alitalia.com
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
China Southern to launch Urumchi-Ashkhabad air service next month

URUMQI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China Southern Airlines, one of the country's largest carriers, announced Tuesday that it would launch a new service from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to Turkmenistan's capital, Ashkhabad, from Dec. 18.

The new route means that Urumchi will have flights to the capitals of all five Central Asian countries. The other four flights are to Almaty, Bishkek, Dushanbe and Tashkent, said an official with China Southern.

The flight of more than 2,700 km will take about three hours.

The official said the new route was "a significant step for China Southern to expand its international flights." The route would "play an important role for air network development in Central Asia and Europe", the official added.
This news is interesting. However I am a bit confused that China Southern Airlines is flying in a North Western direction!

The flights to North Korea sound good.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:14 AM   #358
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@ asif iqbal

Well, China Southern Airines is just a brand name for the airlines and nothing more. IMHO, it's probably branded that way because its homebase is the (New) Guangzhou-Baiyun Internationa Airport, which happens to be located at the southern megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta Region.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:20 AM   #359
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Xiaoshan Airport plans fund raising for expansion
19 November 2007

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport may raise fund through a bond issuance, a public listing or taking out bank loans for its phase 2 construction.

Airport managing director Huang Weilin said the airport recorded a 19% rise in flight volume this year. With a RMB2 billion early investment by the Hong Kong Airport Authority, Huang says it has sufficient capital on hand. Yet he won't rule out any possibility of raising cash through bonds, loans or listing on the market since the construction of the phase 2 requires substantial investment.

Airport CEO Cheng Jifang says Xiaoshan aims to be one of the top 10 favourite international airports in China. After Hong Kong's capital injection, Cheng says the airport is getting more publicity in the industry. Some international airlines like Virgin Atlantic are now negotiating to operate a new route between Hangzhou and Hong Kong. Cheng says they are planning international routes to Europe and the US. Currently they are negotiating for a freight route to Macau. Hong Kong also helps the airport call for international hotel tender.

Xiaoshan Airport announces the number of airport users broke the 10 million mark on November 8 this year. It forecasts the number of departure-arrival passengers will reach 11.8 million for the full year of 2007, four times the number in 2001.

Wen Wei Po
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:44 AM   #360
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Chinese Muslims begin annual pilgrimage to Mecca with direct flights

YINCHUAN, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Muslims from China's only Hui ethnic autonomous region began their Mecca pilgrimage on Monday, utilizing the first direct charter flights from Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, to Mecca.

At 7:45 p.m. on Monday, the first charter flight, with 282 pilgrims on board, took off from Yinchuan airport for a flight of about eight hours to Medina, Saudi Arabia.

The group was the first among the 1,970 Muslims who will take these flights from Yinchuan to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. The flights, operated by China Eastern, will continue to Nov. 25.

Yinchuan this year became the fifth departure port for non-stop charter flights to Saudi Arabia. The other four are Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou and Kunming.

Previously, Muslims in Ningxia had to travel to neighboring Gansu and Xinjiang for flights to Saudi Arabia.

Yang Zhibo, vice chairman of the Islamic Association of China (IAC) , said Ningxia has more than 2 million Muslims, and it is important and necessary to facilitate their pilgrimage.

"Direct flights substantially reduce the time and costs for pilgrims," said Hei Fuli, vice chairman of the Islamic Association of Ningxia.

Twenty years ago, when Beijing was the only departure port, pilgrims had to wait a week before flying onward to Medina, Hei said.

China has more than 20 million Muslims, mainly living in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Ganshu, Ningxia, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia and Henan.

According to the IAC, a record 10,700 Chinese Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage this year. They will return by charter flights from Jan. 5-24, 2008. The pilgrimage rites will take place from Dec. 18-22.
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