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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:35 PM   #361
hkskyline
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China East Star Airlines to buy six A320 aircraft for over 3 bln yuan
21 November 2007

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Privately owned carrier East Star Airlines, which launched its maiden flight in May last year, said it will buy six Airbus 320s for a total catalog price of over 3 bln yuan.

The company, based in Wuhan in the central province of Hubei, said in a statement that all the funds needed for the airplane purchase will be financed through lending from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

East Star Airlines said it has signed a formal agreement with the bank on the financing deal.

The company, meanwhile, said in a separate press release that it has officially launched a daily flight service connecting Wuhan with Hong Kong and Macau.

East Star Airlines was granted the license for international operations by the General Administration of Civil Aviation in July, making it the first private private carrier to win such a license, state media reported.

It also signed an agreement last month to lease two Airbus A320 aircraft from the International Lease Finance Corp ( ILFC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of American International Group (AIG).

It also reached a deal with Airbus and GE Commercial Aviation Services in November 2005 to lease and purchase a total of 20 A310 and A320 aircraft over a five-year period.

(1 usd = 7.42 yuan)
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:23 PM   #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
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.
I heard about this flight few years ago good to see it is operational now. It will make travel much more easy for Chinese muslims. This is indeed a great asset to have and also the airport is going through a upgrade to make conjestion easy!


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cebuano Exultor View Post
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.
Yes i suppose ur right i was being sarcastic in a way! Thanks for the clarification.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 11:16 AM   #363
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Beijing halves vertical aircraft distance to ease air congestion
22 November 2007
South China Morning Post

China halved the required vertical separation between aircraft to 1,000 feet from today in a move to ease congestion in air corridors caused by heavy aviation traffic in the country.

Cathay Pacific Airways said the new measure would help improve the on-time performance of airlines flying into the mainland.

"It is good news for us," said Cathay chief executive Tony Tyler at an industry forum yesterday.

"It is a change aligned with international standards to double the capacity of mainland [air space]."

Congestion in the mainland's airspace has caused severe flight delays in busy airports such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Of the international flights in the country, including those to and from Hong Kong and Macau, 81.79 per cent were on time in September, down 1.53 percentage points from the same period last year, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said in a report.

Overall on-time performance at all mainland airports was 82.54 per cent in September, down 0.39 percentage point.

Air traffic control contributed 28 per cent of the delays, the biggest single cause of late flights in China, the report said.

The regulator began implementing the reduced vertical separation minimum scheme today. Under the new scheme, aircraft are allowed to fly within 1,000 vertical feet of each other - compared with 2,000 feet previously - when they are at an altitude of between 27,500 feet and 41,000 feet.

Assuming that the maximum number of aircraft are flying between those altitudes, the number of flight levels would increase to 13 from six, resulting in an 85 per cent rise in capacity under the new measure, according to the website of the aviation authority.

Aside from easing the pressure on air traffic controllers, the new policy will help airlines save on fuel costs.

"Pilots can choose the best flying level to lower their fuel costs," said the regulator, which estimated the annual savings in fuel expenses at 400 million yuan.

In 1988, the International Civil Aviation Organisation completed its study on the separation minimum, concluding that safe implementation of the 1,000-foot separation standard was technically feasible.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 05:26 AM   #364
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Mexican airline eyes China in time for Olympics

MEXICO CITY, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Aeromexico, the country's top airline which was recently privatized, will begin flying to China in March of next year, a few months before the Olympics kick off.

The Mexican government sold Aeromexico to U.S. bank Citigroup and its Mexican partners in October after a heated bidding war for the debt-ridden carrier.

The flight from Mexico City to Shanghai will connect through the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the company said in an event late on Thursday.

Beijing-headquartered Olympics will take place in August of next year but other cities, including Shanghai, will host several competitions and matches.

This will be Aeromexico's second new route to Asia this year after launching its Tokyo flight a few months ago with a cost of $1,000 per round trip.

Aeromexico's new owners plan to invest $240 million to improve operations and create new routes. The company is part of the SkyTeam alliance which comprises 10 airline members around the world. (Reporting by Veronica Gomez Sparrowe; editing by Carol Bishopric)
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Old November 26th, 2007, 03:37 AM   #365
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China Eastern Airlines Oct Passengers Up 14% To 3.65 Mln
22 November 2007

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)-- China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA) said late Thursday it carried 3.65 million passengers in October, up 14% from the same month last year.

The Shanghai-based carrier said in a statement its cargo shipments last month rose 9% to 87,440 metric tons. The company didn't provide year-earlier figures.

China Eastern's October passenger load factor, or the amount of seats filled on each flight, rose 3.50 percentage points from a year earlier to 76.17%. The load factor in September was 74.87%.

Passenger capacity, as measured by available seat kilometers, rose 9% to 6.93 billion ASKs in October. ASKs are calculated by multiplying the number of seats on a flight by the distance flown.

Total passenger revenue rose 15% to 5.28 billion revenue passenger kilometers. RPKs are calculated by multiplying the number of paying passengers on a flight by the distance traveled by each passenger.

China Eastern, the country's third-largest state carrier by revenue, didn't elaborate on its traffic figures in the statement.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 07:31 AM   #366
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China Eastern to launch direct flights from Kunming to Calcutta

www.chinaview.cn 2007-10-28 02:42:17

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The east Indian city of Calcutta will have its first direct flight to China next week when China Eastern Airlines launches its new service between Calcutta and Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, in southwest China, on October 29.

China Eastern will operate three flights between Calcutta and Kunming every week.

It takes over two hours' non-stop flying from Calcutta to reach Kunming, from where China Eastern Airlines has connecting flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other major Chinese cities.

Experts said bilateral economic and cultural exchanges would become more frequent following the introduction of the new air route.


News from India

China directly, at doorstep
- Thrice-a-week, non-stop flights from October 29

SANJAY MANDAL

Calcutta will have its first direct flight to China later this month.

China Eastern Airlines will launch its non-stop service between Calcutta and Kunming, capital of Yunan province, in the southwestern part of China, on October 29, airline sources said on Tuesday. The airline now operates three weekly flights from Delhi on the Delhi-Shanghai-Canton route.

Sources said the airline will operate three flights between Calcutta and Kunming every week. The flight will arrive in Calcutta on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and take off from here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The first flight from Kunming is scheduled to touch down at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport on October 29, at 11.40pm. It will leave Calcutta the next day at 12.30am, reaching Kunming at 5.10am (local time).

A return ticket on the route will cost around Rs 9,500, inclusive of taxes.

It takes about three hours’ non-stop flying from Calcutta to reach Kunming, from where China Eastern Airlines has connecting flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and other major Chinese cities.

“The Calcutta-Kunming service opens an opportunity for the people of Calcutta and the Northeast to travel to various parts of China,” said an airline official.

“Once the direct flight is introduced, the number of travellers to China from this part of India will increase sharply. On an average, 300 passengers from Calcutta now visit various Chinese cities every week,” said Anil Punjabi, the chairman (east) of the Travel Agents Federation of India.

The travellers now have two options: either catch a China-bound flight from Delhi, or go to Singapore or Bangkok and board a connecting flight to China from there.

Source: telegraphindia.com
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Old November 26th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #367
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Airbus to sell 160 jets to China for US$14.8 billion
26 November 2007

BEIJING (AP) - Airbus said it signed contracts Monday to sell 160 passenger jets worth around US$14.8 billion (€10 billion) to China in a deal that stands to push the Eureopean plane maker past archrival Boeing in total commercial aircraft orders this year.

Planes ordered include 110 of the company's A320 jets and 50 of the slightly larger A330 planes, Airbus officials said in Beijing, where they were accompanying French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his first state visit to the Asian trading giant.

Airbus and Chinese partners this summer signed an agreement to produce A320s in China in anticipation of large Chinese orders for the popular single aisle jet that seats 150 or more passengers. Size-wise, the plane is well suited for Chinese domestic routes expected to show strong growth in the years ahead as the economy continues to expand.

While one of the company's largest single orders, the deal covers a number of Chinese airlines and the final distribution of the planes wasn't immediately known. China's top three airlines -- Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. -- are all-state owned and operate mixed fleets of mainly Airbus and Boeing jets.

China Southern ordered five Airbus A380 superjumbos in 2005, so for the only Chinese orders for the plane.

Decisions on aircraft orders in China are made by cabinet-level officials who typically place large orders timed for maximum political effect.

In a similar move, China last year bought 150 Airbus jets worth over US$9 billion during a visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to France.

Airbus and U.S.-based Boeing Co. predict China will become the world's second-biggest aircraft market after the United States, with airlines buying 1,900 to 2,600 planes over the next two decades.

Monday's order looks to put Airbus ahead of Chicago-based Boeing for the year.

Boeing said last week it had received 1,047 commercial airplane orders this year, already beating its 2006 record-setting total of 1,044 orders with more than a month to go. Airbus had logged 1,021 commercial jet orders as of the end of October, the most recent data available on the company's Web site.

Airbus has agreed to assemble planes in China, a move that is seen as part of a long-term strategy to win a greater share of the Chinese market that for years was dominated by Boeing.

Its final assembly line in the Chinese city of Tianjin is due to deliver its first aircraft in early 2009. The plant is expected to be able to produce four A320s a month by 2011 and a total of about 300 A320 planes by 2016.

"Airbus certainly did not hurt its marketability in China when it pledged to construct an A320 final assembly plant in Tianjin," said Richard Pinkham, a Singapore-based analyst for the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation.

The exact price tag for the huge purchase was not immediately clear. Louis Gallois, chief executive of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV, the owner of Airbus, said he "had not calculated it."

French officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the deal totaled about US$14.8 billion (€10 billion). Other Airbus officials said the list price of the planes came to about US$17 billion (€11.48 billion), although such large scale ordes usually include deep discounts and other pricing incentives.

The deal is welcome news to Airbus, which has struggled with a decline in the U.S. dollar and delays with its A400M military transport aircraft and the A380 superjumbo that has wiped billions of euros off EADS' profit.

Earlier this month, Gallois said the company needed to find an extra 1 billion euros ($1.46 billion) in cost savings after the planemaker and its parent company announced third-quarter losses.

The dollar's drop to record lows against the euro also makes it harder for Airbus to compete against Boeing Co., because while it sells its planes in dollars, many of its costs are in euros.

------

Associated Press writer Nathalie Schuck contributed to this story.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #368
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Three Gorges Airport approved for regular international flights

YICHANG, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Three Gorges (Sanxia) Airport has received regulatory approval from several agencies for regularly scheduled international flights, confirmed local sources on Sunday.

The General Customs Administration, the Ministry of Public Security, the General Administration of Civil Aviation, the General Administration for Quality Supervision and the General Staff Headquarters gave their permission for the flights.

The airport has invested about 100 million yuan (about 13.3 million U.S. dollars) to upgrade its infrastructure. An international hall measuring 3,600 square meters and 3.58 kilometers of roads and runways have been completed. Offices and staff dormitories are to be finished by the end of this year.

Regular flights to the Republic of Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are planned to start in 2008.

The Three Gorges Airport opened in 1997, with 26 passenger routes to various cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen launched to date.

The airport is estimated to receive about 600,000 passengers this year, of whom 50,000 would be foreign nationals, up 15 percent from last year, said Wang Hong, deputy general manager of the airport.

Overseas charter flights started on Dec. 31, 2006, and there have been 67 such flights with 7,303 arriving and departing passengers. The average load factor of the flights was 70 percent, said Wang.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 05:30 AM   #369
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China Southern to launch Beijing-Irkutsk flights Wednesday

IRKUTSK. Nov 28 (Interfax) - China Southern will begin regular flights between Irkutsk and Beijing on Wednesday, the Irkutsk Airport said in a statement.

The Chinese airline will fly the route twice per week, increasing the total number of scheduled flights through the Irkutsk Airport to Beijing to six per week, the airport said. Two Russian airlines fly to Beijing four times per week from the airport.

China Southern's new flights will help increase passenger traffic through the Irkutsk Airport, which expects to serve its millionth passenger at the end of 2007, the statement said.

China Southern in May resumed flights between Irkutsk and Shanghai. More than 8,000 passengers have flown this route since it was reopened.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 06:41 AM   #370
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China Eastern Airlines opens new route to Phnom Penh

By Gareth Powell November 26th, 2007

China Eastern Airlines has opened a new route from the southwestern city of Kunming to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Wang Qian, a spokeswoman for the company in southwest Chinas Yunnan Province said there are now three regular flights a week to Cambodias capital capital using a CRJ-200 (shown head on in our illustration) with a capacity of 50 passengers.

Flights take off from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and arrive in Phnom Penh at 10:40 a.m. local time.

Return flights leave Phnom Penh at 11:30 a.m. local time the same day.

The flights make a stopover in the southern Chinese city of Nanning for 40 minutes.

http://www.chinaeconomicreview.com/a...to-phnom-penh/
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Old November 30th, 2007, 04:21 AM   #371
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Air China, China Eastern surge in Hong Kong on merger report
29 November 2007

HONG KONG (XFN-ASIA) - Air China Ltd and China Eastern Airlines were sharply higher in Hong Kong on reports that China's largest airline might make a new proposal to merge with Eastern.

Air China surged 0.68 hkd or 7.4 pct at 9.87, off a high of 9.97, while Eastern was up 0.42 hkd or 5.85 pct at 7.60, off a high of 7.73.

Some media in the mainland reported that Air China probably will propose a new plan to merge with Eastern ahead of the Air China shareholder meeting scheduled for Jan 8, 2008.

Airline stocks have outperformed Shanghai's A-shares market recently due to continued yuan appreciation and retreating oil prices.

(1 usd = 7.8 hkd)
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:24 PM   #372
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Grand China Airlines launches

Grand China Airlines was created Thursday after the merger of four carriers including Hainan Airlines. It's the country's fourth largest aviation group, following Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.

The move is designed to create greater competition for the other top three players in the booming domestic market. Its first flight will take off on Friday, and it plans to add flights gradually ahead of next year's Beijing Olympic Games.

At the opening ceremony in Beijing, the chairman of Hainan Airlines, Chen Feng, said the total assets of the new aviation group will exceed 40 billion yuan. Its headquarters will be located in Haikou, the capital of southern Hainan Province, while operations will be based in Beijing. Preparations for the new carrier started in 2004 by consolidating the operations of Hainan, Xinhua, Chang'an and Shanxi Airlines.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #373
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Air China launches direct Beijing-Athens flights

ATHENS, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The first direct flight between Beijing and Athens by Air China arrived at Athens airport Thursday morning.

Chairman of Air China Ltd. Li Jiaxiang, Greek Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos and Greek Ambassador to China Michael Cambanis, among other passengers, were aboard the plane.

During the flight's departure ceremony, Li said both China and Greece boast ancient civilizations, and the direct flight will greatly promote their traditional friendly ties and enhance tourism between the two countries.

The launch of the direct route is good proof that the Chinese government and Air China attach great importance to developing a strategic partnership with Greece, he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Greece Luo Linquan, who attended the ceremony, extended his congratulations on the occasion, saying the direct flight is a tangible result of the increasing contacts between the two countries in every field, from politics and economy to culture and tourism.

Spiliotopoulos said the direct flight has opened another gate for people from Asia to Europe, which promotes the cooperation of tourism and other businesses between China and Greece.

The weekly services connecting Beijing to Athens depart from Beijing every Sunday and Wednesday and from Athens every Monday and Thursday.

Beijing will host the Olympic Games in 2008, and the Olympic flame will be lit in Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #374
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I think it's sad to see all these unique looking Chinese airlines disappearing in to single airlines. I loved the original liveries of China Northern, China Southwest, Chang'an, Xinhua, Hainan, Shanxi, China Xinjiang, Yunnan, and Lucky Air.

Is Lucky Air still around?
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #375
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There are still a lot of smaller airlines flying in Chinese skies. Despite the consolidation a few years ago, there are a few upstart new carriers that come online and then disappear.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 04:42 AM   #376
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China National Aviation Ups China Eastern H-Shr Hldg To 12.1%
3 December 2007

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--State-owned China National Aviation Holding Co. said late Monday it increased its stake in the Hong Kong-listed shares of China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA) to 12.07% from 11.79%.

The parent of flag carrier Air China Ltd. (0753.HK) bought 4.28 million China Eastern H shares Thursday at an average price of HK$7.585 each for a total of HK$32.4 million.

The increased shareholding comes a month before China Eastern's minority shareholders are scheduled to vote on China Eastern's plan to sell a 24% stake to Singapore Airlines Ltd. (C6L.SG) and Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., raising questions about CNAHC's intentions.

In September, CNAHC and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) considered putting together a counteroffer for a stake in China Eastern, though they later aborted their plan. A person familiar with the situation said at the time Chinese regulators had blocked it from proceeding.

CNAHC said in September it wouldn't attempt another bid for China Eastern for three months, until Dec. 18.

Holders of both China Eastern's Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed shares will vote simultaneously in Shanghai on Jan. 8 on the proposal to sell a stake to Singapore Airlines and Temasek in what is likely to be the final step in completing the deal.

China Eastern will need a two-thirds majority vote from its shareholders for the stake sale to be ratified. China Eastern and its parent, China Eastern Air Holding Co., won't be allowed to vote.

Analysts have said that getting holders of China Eastern's Hong Kong and Shanghai shares to vote at the same time will make it difficult for minority shareholders like CNAHC to vote down the proposal.

Last week, China Eastern Chairman Li Fenghua told Dow Jones Newswires he expects the stake sale to Singapore Airlines to be completed in the first quarter.

"Our decision to issue H shares to strategic investors has got the approval from various government departments including the leaders at the State Council," Li said, adding that the stake sale involves "the country's interests...rather than simply the company's activities."

CNAHC last disclosed a stake increase in China Eastern in early September, when its holding rose to 11.02% from 10.07%.

Singapore Airlines agreed in September to buy a 15.7% stake in the China Eastern, while Singapore Airlines' parent, Temasek, agreed to simultaneously buy 8.3%.

The combined offer of HK$7.2 billion, or HK$3.80 a share, has been approved by both the State Council, China's Cabinet, and China Eastern's board.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #377
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Korean Air to invest in $43.9 mln terminal project

SEOUL, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Top South Korean carrier Korean Air said on Wednesday it will take part in the $43.9 million project to construct a cargo terminal at China's Tianjin airport.

Korean Air said in a filing with the Korea Exchange that it will hold up to a 47 percent stake in the joint project, and Korea Airport Service Co will have 15 percent.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 03:57 AM   #378
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Hangzhou airport eyes US$800m from IPO
10 December 2007
South China Morning Post

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, which is 35 per cent owned by the Airport Authority Hong Kong, plans to raise about US$800 million from an initial public offering by the end of the third quarter next year to fund expansion, sources said.

The Airport Authority's holding would be diluted to 25 per cent after the sale, the sources said.

They said investment banks had been invited to pitch next month for the mandate to arrange the deal. Hangzhou Airport planned to sell shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the sources said.

"The Airport Authority wanted it all done in Hong Kong but the [mainland] regulators wanted an onshore component," one source said.

Airport Authority chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung said last month that he preferred a Hong Kong listing and the offering process was at an early stage.

Gong Zhiye, chief of Xiaoshan International Airport's administration office, said the company had a share-listing plan but it had yet to work out the details including the timetable and size of the offering.

Airport Authority spokeswoman Kathy Cheung said the plan was at an early stage so she could not comment on details.

Proceeds from the offering would fund the expansion of the airport terminal and eventually a new runway, the sources said.

Construction of phase two of the airport's estimated seven billion yuan expansion began last month, a Xinhua Financial Network report said, citing authorities.

Passenger capacity at the airport would triple to 26 million people a year when work is completed in 2011, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said.

It expects cargo capacity to rise to 500,000 tonnes annually and total aircraft movements to 260,000 takeoffs and landings.

"China's airlines show very high growth compared with the rest of the world and even the Asian region," said Kelvin Lau, an aviation analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. "With its growing economy, people are willing to spend more on travel and we have the Olympic Games coming up."

Mainland airlines' revenue per kilometre rose a compound annual rate of 23.5 per cent from 2002 to last year, against 5.17 per cent in Asia and 6.58 per cent for the rest of the world, Bloomberg data showed.

The number of international mainland tourists tripled to 31 million last year from 10.5 million in 2000, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Over the same period, per capita salary had risen to just over 18,000 yuan from about 9,000 yuan.

Domestic tourist numbers recorded a compound annual growth rate of 11 per cent from 2001 to 2005, hitting 1.2 billion in 2005, according to the statistics bureau.

Hangzhou Airport is China's eighth-largest airport by passenger volume. China Eastern Airlines is the heaviest user of the airport while Air China dominates Beijing.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 04:41 AM   #379
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Grand China plans US$1.3b bond issue
10 December 2007
South China Morning Post

Grand China Airlines, the parent of Hainan Airlines, expects to complete a US$1.3 billion round of financing by next month, before proceeding to a US$2 billion capital raising from an initial public offering in Hong Kong, market sources say.

The company planned to sell US$1 billion worth of convertible bonds to funds including Global Infrastructure Partners, Ochs-Ziff Management and Stark Investments, the sources said. Domestic investors, including insurance companies, will buy the equivalent of US$300 million in convertible bonds denominated in yuan.

Global Infrastructure Partners is a joint venture between Credit Suisse, the second-largest investment bank in Switzerland, and GE Infrastructure, a unit of General Electric, the world's largest power turbine and jet engine maker.

A spokesman at Hainan Airlines declined to comment on the pre-offer financing or the share offer, which is expected to be made in June next year.

In April, Grand China chairman Chen Feng said the company expected to raise US$2 billion from an initial public offering next year. Goldman Sachs and UBS were hired to arrange the offering.

Mainland regulators have tried to keep large public offerings at home, or to at least see a sizeable component sold in the domestic market, but Grand China is a red chip, incorporated overseas, so Beijing has less leeway.

"They are not pleased to see companies go outside the country," said a source familiar with the deal.

Grand China is the holding firm of four domestic carriers - Hainan Airlines, Shanxi Airlines, Hong Kong-based Hong Kong Airlines, and cargo carrier Hong Kong Express. Shanghai-listed unit Hainan Airlines is the fourth-largest carrier on the mainland.

The Hainan provincial government is Grand China's largest shareholder with a 48 per cent stake, while US-based billionaire George Soros owns 19 per cent.

"They are setting up base in Beijing, which will not be easy to develop because the airport is already congested and Air China will defend its market share," said Daiwa Institute of Research analyst Kelvin Lau.

He said Air China had a 45 per cent market share in the capital. China Southern and China Eastern together accounted for another 45 per cent, leaving Grand China 10 per cent via Hainan Air's current share.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #380
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Lufthansa to expand network in China for Olympics
11 December 2007

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Tuesday it is expanding its route network from three to five destinations in China next year ahead of the summer Olympic games in Beijing.

The carrier will begin routes from Frankfurt to Nanjing and from Munich to Shenyang, alongside its existing services to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The two new connections will both be operated by an Airbus A340-300 seating 221 passengers.

Including the new routes, Lufthansa will operate 58 flights weekly from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs to China and Hong Kong.

Separately, Lufthansa said that its November passenger load factor -- the amount of seats taken up during the period -- rose 1.2 percentage points to 75.8 percent.

During the month the carrier increased capacity by 5 percent, while actual passenger numbers climbed 6.7 percent to 4.6 million.
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