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Old September 27th, 2006, 04:15 AM   #141
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Group touts public support for Beijing flights to Dulles
26 September 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - Advocates for a proposal by United Airlines to begin direct flights between Dulles International Airport and Beijing, China say they have the support of most Americans.

Four airlines are competing for the new air route to China, but United is the only one focusing its proposal on connecting the capitals.

The Capital-to-Capital Coalition, representing business, transit and diplomatic groups in the area, says a new national survey shows 58 percent of people agree it's important to have a direct link between Washington and Beijing. Surveyors from Luce Research questioned one-thousand-and-two air travelers for the study.

American Airlines, Continental and Northwest are also competing for the Beijing flight but from different cities.

The Transportation Department is expected to choose an airline for the new route by the end of the year.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 06:14 AM   #142
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China airlines on the rise

BEIJING, Oct 3, 2006 (AFP) - China's airlines are expected to carry 270 million passengers in 2010, with their businesses to expand much faster than industry chiefs had previously forecast, state press reported Tuesday.

The annual passenger growth rate for China's airlines over the next four years is expected to be 14.5 percent, Xinhua news agency cited the deputy director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China as saying.

This will bring the number of passengers flying on Chinese airlines in 2010 to 270 million, according to Wang Changshun, the deputy director.

The cargo turnover for China's airlines is forecast to grow by 14 percent annually, Wang said.

Wang's estimates on passenger numbers are much higher than those given by the International Air Transport Association in July.

The association forecast then that air passenger traffic in China would grow by 9.6 percent annually until 2009, with freight traffic to increase by 14.4 percent.

Chinese airlines carried 74.25 million passengers in the first half of 2006, up 17.9 percent from the same period a year earlier, while air cargo traffic rose 11.4 percent, state press reports have said.

Despite the increased air traffic, Chinese airlines suffered losses totaling more than three billion yuan (379 million dollars) in the first six months of the year, partly due to high world fuel price rises.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 08:27 AM   #143
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China air route choice to be based on "benefit" to public: US

WASHINGTON, Oct 3, 2006 (AFP) - The selection of one of four US airlines competing for a new lucrative route to China would be based on the maximum benefit to the public, US authorities said Tuesday.

American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines have submitted bids offering the next direct flight from the United States to China, the world's hottest aviation growth market.

"The Department's principal objective is to maximize the public benefits that result from the award of new international authority," Lori Irving, spokeswoman for the US Department of Transportation, said in a written statement to AFP.

She said the department based its decision "on a written record, or docket, consisting of formal pleadings filed by the competing carriers, as well as input formally filed by civic parties, elected officials and other members of the public.

"Their views become part of the formal decisional record and are considered by the department in its overall review of that record," Irving said as the carriers continued to rally public and political support to back their bids.

United Airlines, for example, ran a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post Tuesday, with a copy of a letter by eight past US Trade Representatives asking acting US Transportation Secretary Maria Cino to approve the airline's bid for a direct, nonstop service between Washington and Beijing.

"Today, travelers between the two capitals are required to make intermediate connections that can add many hours to an already lengthy journey," they said.

American Airlines wants to fly from Dallas to Beijing, Continental from Newark, New Jersey, to Shanghai, and Northwest from Detroit to Shanghai.

The department is expected to choose one airline by the end of 2006. The new flights will begin next year on March 25.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:39 PM   #144
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Airlines need wider seats for fatter Chinese, report

BEIJING, Oct 6, 2006 (AFP) - Chinese airlines are under pressure to install wider seats as Chinese people get bigger, state media said Friday.

In line with rising affluence, Chinese waistlines are spreading, and younger generations are on average taller and heavier than their parents, the Xinhua news agency said.

The report added that more Chinese are complaining of cramped conditions on planes run by airlines trying to squeeze in as many paying passengers as possible.

To address the problem, China Eastern Airlines plans to increase the number of seats on its fleet of new Airbus 321 planes by about 20, Xinhua said.

Cramped conditions on board some flights have triggered violence in the past, Xinhua said, citing a fight among passengers aboard a China Southern Airlines plane earlier this year.

Wen Weiliang, director of the China Health Care Association, told Xinhua that Chinese were becoming taller on average and that 30 percent of people in large cities were overweight.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 01:13 AM   #145
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China Southern Air Sept Passengers Up 13.9% To 4.44 Mln
9 October 2006

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--China Southern Airlines Co. (ZNH) said Monday it carried 14% more passengers in September than in the same month last year, up from 13% growth in August.

During the month, the Guangzhou-based airline carried 4.44 million passengers. Its cargo volume rose 10% from the same period last year to 87,890 metric tons.

The airline didn't provide year-earlier numbers or elaborate on its figures, which were published on its Web site.

China Southern's passenger load factor, a measure of how many available seats were filled, rose 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier to 73.8% in September.

China Southern is one of China's three main state-owned carriers. The others are Air China Ltd. (0753.HK) and China Eastern Airlines Ltd. (CEA)
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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:06 AM   #146
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China Eastern Airlines appoints new president

HONG KONG, Oct 13 (Reuters) - China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. <0670.HK> <600115.SS> <CEA.N> said on Friday it has appointed Cao Jianxiong as president of the company, replacing Luo Chaogeng.

The airline said in a statement that Cao, an executive director, had joined the company as a non-executive director in 2001.

The airline gave no explanation for the replacement of Luo as president. It also said that Wan Mingwu would cease to be vice president and that Wan and Luo would remain as directors of the company. It gave no futher details.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #147
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China Southern Air to buy B777 freighters-sources

SHANGHAI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. plans to buy as many as six B777 freighters from Boeing Co., two sources familiar with the deal said on Monday.

The purchase could help the U.S. aircraft-maker gain a following for its new 777 line in China and might be worth over $1 billion, as the B777 freighters have a list price of between $232.5 million and $240 million.

China Southern, the country's largest airline by fleet size, would be the first Chinese company to buy the B777 freighter, paving the way for possible purchases by other domestic carriers.

The airline has said it is considering a cargo venture with Air France KLM, the world's biggest airline by revenue and the B777 freighter's launch customer.

"China Southern wants to buy six B777 freighters," one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He added that the deal still needed Chinese government approval, which was expected to be a formality.

A second source confirmed that the airline would place an order for the wide-body, ultra long-range freighters, but declined to discuss details.

Spokesmen for both Boeing and China Southern declined to comment. China Southern shares were suspended in Shanghai and Hong Kong on Monday pending a statement on a substantial acquisition, the company said earlier without elaborating.

China is a major battleground between Boeing and EADS, which makes the Airbus line.

Boeing, which snapped up a record 120 firm orders in China last year, expected to match its performance in 2006, a senior company executive said in April.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 02:16 AM   #148
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China in a flurry of airport construction
Country spends billions to build facilities at a whirlwind pace. `The day they complete an airport is the day they start expansion' on another
USA Today 10/03/2006
Author: Calum MacLeod
(Copyright 2006)



BEIJING -- Even by Chinese standards, the new, dragon-shaped Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport has been a grand undertaking.

At one point, 35,000 workers were mixing, pouring and smoothing concrete for the edifice. Terminal 3 -- seven stories and 2.4 miles long -- will be the world's largest airport terminal when it opens to greet Olympic visitors in 2008.

China is building and expanding airports at an unprecedented pace, one that matches its roaring economy. It will spend $17.4 billion over the next five years to build 42 airports in cities stretching from the Russian border in the northeast to the high Tibetan plateau in the southwest. Chinese planners have orders to expand 73 airports and to move 11.

"The day they complete an airport is the day they start expansion" on another, says Kevin Wu, greater China marketing director for Lockheed Martin and a former air traffic controller in China.

The superstructure of the new terminal in Beijing, designed by renowned British architect Lord Norman Foster, has sprung up in a little more than two years -- "a phenomenally fast speed of construction," says Jonathan Kerry, senior structural engineer at Arup, one of the lead firms on the project.

One reason the project has sped along so quickly is the ready supply of labor. "They throw people at it," Kerry marvels.

Even before the terminal opens, traffic at Beijing's airport has ballooned. Fifteen years ago, the airport felt remote and puny. It was located in farm fields northeast of the capital and served 100 flights a day. Terminals were dark, dingy, cramped and smoky. Passengers took buses from the lone terminal to airplanes on the tarmac.

Today, Beijing's airport is connected to the city by expressway. It handles a thousand flights a day.

Nationally, passenger levels have risen an average of 15.5% a year for the past five years. Last year, Chinese airlines carried 138 million passengers. U.S.-based airlines, serving a population one-quarter the size of China's, carried 739 million passengers. The difference "shows our potential to develop," says Wang Kunzhi, an official at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

In five years, CAAC forecasts, loads will nearly double to 270 million passengers. China's commercial fleet is to grow, as well, from 863 to 1,580 airliners. By then, the country will have 186 civilian airports, ranking second only to the USA, which has 599 airports certified to handle aircraft seating more than nine passengers.

The spectacular growth of Chinese aviation takes place despite:

*Tight control of air corridors. Wu says China's military controls 80% of the country's airspace. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says her agency controls all U.S. airspace but delegates control in some restricted areas to the military. "At any given moment, they're probably using about 5%," she says.

*Lack of low-cost carriers. Most Chinese airlines are wholly or partly owned by the government, which helps set fares and determines carriers' routes, access to aircraft, gate slots and other questions. The government "prevents the (rise of) the vibrant low-cost sector China needs to take aviation to the next level and even overtake the U.S. in the future," says Derek Sadubin, director of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation.

*Difficulty buying high-tech equipment. U.S. export controls limit China's access to dual-use technology made by American companies -- products with both military and civilian applications. The restrictions cover navigation and avionics gear, as well as other products used in aviation: computers, software, security and telecom equipment, sensors and lasers.

The controls, called "overly restrictive" by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, hamper sales of Lockheed Martin and other aviation equipment companies.

*Few privately owned aircraft. There are fewer than 150 privately owned aircraft in China, says Xu Weijie, chairman of the Yueqing Flying Club and owner of a company building 11 small airstrips for small planes and helicopters in coastal Zhejiang province.

Xu says he knows of 39 new orders -- for Cessna airplanes, Robinson helicopters and other aircraft -- placed by companies and wealthy business people. "Many people can afford to buy a plane now ... but they have nowhere to fly from or can't afford the high (landing) fees charged by civilian airports. ... People are calling for airspace to be liberalized, but too many restrictions remain. The lack of radar equipment and air traffic control personnel are major hurdles," he says.

The building boom includes plans for a second Beijing airport, but most of the facilities will be built in remote western China. Kanding, a Tibetan town in Sichuan province, will get the world's second-highest-elevation airport behind Bangda Airport, also in Tibet. In western Qinghai province, a new airport in the city of Yushu will cut travel time to the provincial capital of Xining from a day-long bus ride to a one-hour flight. In Yushu and other locales, some residents will get their first glimpses of airplanes.

Bradley Mayhew, co-author of Lonely Planet: China, a backpacker's guide, says the country's new roads, rail networks and airports will make travel more convenient, "but some of the adventure is evaporating."

That's fine with business travelers such as Huang Geng, owner of the 140-outlet restaurant chain Brother Bull. "Time is money -- I can't be late," he says. The breakneck modernization in aviation is something "you couldn't do in any other country."

Huang says China's airports, once an embarrassment, now make him proud. "You have to wait longer at U.S. airports," he says.

James Kynge, who chronicled the rise of the Chinese economy in his book China Shakes the World, says it's all an improvement over the bad old days of flying in China. "I remember when CAAC was known as China Airways Always Cancels," he says. "They never took off if there was a hint of bad weather."

Kynge and other veteran fliers tell of squat toilets, passenger lines from counter to curb, lounges blanketed by curtains of cigarette smoke. Even in major cities, airports had no restaurants, not even a place to get a cup of coffee, Kynge says. "China is building a first-world infrastructure from nothing," he says.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 07:32 AM   #149
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Chinese airlines to go to full electronic ticketing on domestic flights

BEIJING, Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) - Chinese airlines will soon issue only electronic tickets for domestic flights, a move expected to cut operational costs, state media reported Tuesday.

The China Air Transport Association has already stopped providing paper tickets to airlines and once those stocks run out only e-tickets will be issued, the China Daily said, without giving a timeframe.

The move followed the International Air Transport Association's requirement that all its 261 member airlines abandon paper tickets by the end of 2007, the newspaper said.

The implementation of e-tickets is expected to lower operational costs for airlines and could lead to lower air fares, the newspaper quoted an official at the Gerneral Administration of Civil Aviation as saying.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 07:33 AM   #150
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China Southern Airlines and unit Xiamen Airlines to buy 12 Boeing aircraft
16 October 2006

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - China Southern Airlines Co., the country's largest carrier by fleet size, said Tuesday it and its unit Xiamen Airlines have together agreed to buy 12 aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing Co.

Xiamen Airlines, in which China Southern Airlines holds a 60 percent stake, agreed to buy six B737-800 aircraft, which will be delivered in 2010, the parent company said in a statement.

Southern Airlines agreed to buy six B777F cargo planes, to be delivered between November 2008 and July 2010, it said.

The deal for the 12 Boeing planes is worth up to $1.84 billion at list prices, but the actual purchase price is lower than this amount, China Southern Airlines said without giving further details.

The company also said the two airlines will use bank loans and operating funds to finance the deal.

China Southern Airlines, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, is one of the country's three major state-owned airlines, along with de facto flag carrier Air China Ltd. and Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines Corp.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #151
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American ratchets up campaign for China flights
16 October 2006

DALLAS (AP) - Four U.S. airlines bidding for new nonstop routes between China and the United States took their last shots at each other Monday.

American Airlines, which proposes to fly between Beijing and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport beginning next spring, released a list of 108 members of Congress and 15 governors who support its bid.

"This is far broader public support than other airlines have received," declared Will Ris, a senior vice president who is the airline's chief lobbyist in Washington.

United Airlines boasted 110 members of Congress in its corner, including a hometown booster, House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

United said 28 other countries -- even Iran -- have service to China from their capitals and so U.S. regulators should approve its bid to fly between Beijing and Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

"The evidence is clear: No other proposed route benefits the public as comprehensively as the Washington proposal," said Jane Garvey, formerly the nation's top aviation regulator and now touting United's bid.

United, American, Continental Airlines Inc., and Northwest Airlines Corp. filed proposals several weeks ago with the U.S. Transportation Department, which will decide by year end who gets several additional slots for daily flights between the two countries beginning next spring.

In their applications, the airlines took swipes at each other's plans. Monday was the deadline for the carriers to file rebuttals.

The winner hopes to capture traffic generated by the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and from increased business ties between U.S. companies and the world's most populous nation.

Fort Worth-based American, the largest U.S. carrier and a unit of AMR Corp., is bidding to become the first U.S. carrier to serve China from a southern state. It is trying to turn the competition into a two-way race with Houston-based Continental, complaining that Northwest and United, a unit of Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based UAL Corp., already offer far more service to China.

Ris said the Northwest and United bids "should be summarily denied because it would be patently anticompetitive" until other U.S. carriers are awarded more China routes.

Continental also took on United, which it said holds "a near monopoly" with four times the number of U.S.-China nonstops as any other airline. Continental said flights between the New York area and Shanghai would serve nearly five times the number of people as American's proposed Dallas-Beijing route, twice those of Northwest's Detroit-Shanghai bid, and 50 percent more than United's proposed Washington-Beijing route.

Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest, which is seeking to add Detroit-Shanghai service, said it had received 168,000 letters of support, more than those claimed by the other carriers.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 03:42 AM   #152
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Reports: Former China Southern Airlines executives face trial in corruption scandal
18 October 2006

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Four former top executives at China Southern Airlines, one of the country's biggest carriers, are on trial in the southern city of Guangzhou, state media reports said Wednesday.

Staff who answered the phone at the Guangzhou No. 1 Intermediate Court said they could not comment on the reports that the trial began Monday, more than a year after the businessmen were arrested on bribery and embezzlement charges.

The charges involve more than 1.2 billion yuan (US$151 million; 121 million), the official Xinhua News Agency cited prosecutors as saying.

The executives include China Southern's former chief financial officer, Chen Liming, former general manager Yan Zhiqing, former deputy general manager Peng Anfa and Han Xiaojun, branch director in Guangzhou for Hantang Securities, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported.

China Southern is China's biggest airline by fleet size and has shares traded in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Prosecutors accuse Chen of taking bribes, stealing company funds and embezzling 1.2 billion yuan from 2001-last year through abuse of a collective asset management business with Hantang, the report said.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #153
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Two China Eastern Airlines executives detained in corruption probe, company says
25 October 2006

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Two top executives at China Eastern Airlines, China's third largest carrier, have been detained in a corruption probe, the company said Wednesday.

Tong Guozhao and Wu Jiuhong, both deputy general managers, were "assisting in the investigation," the airline's secretary of the board Luo Zhuping said, using the euphemism typically used by Chinese officials for when someone has been detained.

Luo would not provide further details but said Shanghai-based China Eastern would release a statement later Wednesday.

State-owned China Eastern, whose shares are traded in Hong Kong and Shanghai, has replaced several top executives in recent months.

Four other executives from China Eastern's cargo division were detained last month in a probe into alleged bribe taking.

According to state media reports, investigators were looking into charges the four accepted bribes worth a total 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million).
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Old October 26th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #154
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China Southern Air Q3 net up 51 pct

SHANGHAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. , the country's largest carrier by fleet size, on Thursday reported a 51 percent rise in third quarter net profit on robust traffic demand, despite higher fuel costs.

Net profit from July to September came to 1.29 billion yuan ($163 million), up from 852 million yuan a year earlier, it said in a statement. Revenue rose 21.8 percent to 13.89 billion yuan.

In the first nine months, net profit jumped sharply to 453 million yuan from 9 million yuan a year earlier, it said.

China Southern , which posted a 835 million yuan net loss in the first half of 2006, did not give an earnings forecast for the full year. ($1=7.8959 Yuan)
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Old October 29th, 2006, 05:38 AM   #155
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Air China posts strong Q3, special factor helps

SHANGHAI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Chinese flag carrier Air China reported strong third-quarter earnings, but said the main reasons were special and seasonal factors.

Air China posted a net profit of 3.30 billion yuan ($418 million) for the July-September period on turnover of 13.94 billion yuan, the company said on Saturday.

The carrier did not provide year-earlier figures because it only began reporting third-quarter earnings when it listed in Shanghai in August.

The third-quarter profit was almost as large as Air China's net profit of 3.34 billion yuan for the first nine months of this year. But the third quarter was inflated by a 3.01 billion yuan investment gain in the period, the company said.

In addition, July-September earnings were boosted by seasonal factors as the airline industry entered its busiest time of year, Air China said.

For all of 2006, Air China predicted net profit would jump at least 50 percent from 2.41 billion yuan in 2005, but it noted that most of this rise would be due to the third-quarter investment gain.

Chinese airlines are enjoying strong traffic growth in a booming economy, but high oil prices have erased most of the benefit to their bottom lines. Air China was the only one of China's three top carriers to post a profit for the first half of this year. ($1=7.89 Yuan)
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Old October 29th, 2006, 05:42 AM   #156
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China Hainan Air Q3 surges after fund-raising

SHANGHAI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - China's Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd. , partly owned by billionaire financier George Soros, reported a 15-fold surge in third-quarter net profit on Friday.

Net profit from July to September leaped to 192.18 million yuan ($24.37 million) from 11.88 million yuan a year earlier. Turnover rose nearly 27 percent to 3.47 billion yuan.

The company did not give reasons for the jump in its earnings statement, but the huge gain was not based on special items -- operating profit surged to 211.36 million yuan from 17.45 million yuan a year earlier.

Passenger services accounted for 87.2 percent of total income, cargo business accounted for 3.2 percent, and chartered flights and other services for the rest, the company said.

The airline, the mainland's fourth-largest, raised $700 million through a share sale in June to finance a major fleet expansion that will help it challenge bigger domestic rivals such as Air China and China Southern Airlines .

The private placement gave control of Hainan Airlines to Grand China Airlines Holding Co., a provincial government investment arm which replaced George Soros as Hainan's biggest shareholder.

"Jet fuel prices in the quarter rose 19.98 percent, which increased operational costs. Possible further moves of fuel prices could still be a major factor affecting the company's earnings in the near future," the company said without giving a specific forecast for the full year.

Hainan Air, based on the southern island of Hainan, said net profit for the first nine months rose to 212.99 million yuan from 22.16 million a year earlier, while turnover climbed to 9.22 billion yuan from 7.30 billion.
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Old October 29th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #157
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China Shandong Airlines Q3 up over fourfold

SHANGHAI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Quarter ended Sept. 30, 2006.

(in millions of yuan unless stated, against 2005 figures):

2006 2005

Turnover 1,187.48 vs 897.57

Net profit 140.59 vs 26.82

Earnings per share (yuan) 0.35 vs 0.07

Assets per share (yuan) 0.68 vs --

Company: Shandong Airlines Co. (200152.SZ: Quote, Profile, Research) is a regional carrier based in China's eastern city of Jinan.

Note: The company published unaudited results, compiled under domestic accounting standards.

The airline said it carried 45.7 percent more passengers, 42.1 percent more cargo and 39.6 percent more packages in the first nine months of this year than it did a year earlier.

It received a subsidy from authorities of 10 million yuan ($1.27 million) for operating international routes during the quarter, helping to boost net profit.

It predicted a profit for all of 2006, compared to a net loss of 273.64 million yuan in 2005. ($1=7.89 Yuan)
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Old October 30th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #158
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China to build 50 new airports by 2010: official

ZHUHAI, China, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) - China will build around 50 new airports by 2010 to satisfy fast-growing passenger demand as well as domestic and foreign trade, a senior Chinese aviation official said Monday.

Gao Hongfeng, Chinese vice minister of civil aviation, said there will be much greater demand for air transport as the number of passengers is expected to rise 14.5 percent a year to 270 million by 2010.

Cargo and mail traffic will increase 13 percent to 5.7 million tonnes, he said at an aviation forum ahead of Tuesday's opening of the Airshow China, held in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai.

To meet the growing transportation needs, Gao said China will build 50 more small to "super-large" airports, bringing the total to 190 in four years. He did not say where the airports will be constructed.

He also pledged to improve air safety, increase air frequency and enhance training of new staff to ease the mounting pressure caused by a lack of pilots, maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers.

The sixth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, China's only international airshow which opens on Tuesday, will be attended by 550 exhibitors from over 33 countries and regions.

Exhibitors include Airbus, Boeing, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Embraer and Rolls-Royce.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 06:19 AM   #159
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Shanghai Airlines to order five Airbus A320 jets

SHANGHAI, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Chinese regional carrier Shanghai Airlines Co. Ltd. said on Tuesday its board had approved the order of five A320 jets from Airbus with a total list price of 2.4 billion yuan ($305 million).

The jets will be delivered by 2010, the carrier said in a statement. It did not specify the actual price of the deal.

Shanghai Airlines, a long-time loyal customer of Boeing , currently has no Airbus planes but has decided to diversify as it expands its fleet, airline executives told Reuters earlier this month. ($1=7.878 Yuan)
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 02:56 AM   #160
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China Eastern Airlines launches first direct Shanghai-New York route

SHANGHAI, Nov 1, 2006 (AFP) - China Eastern Airlines, the nation's third-largest carrier, said Wednesday it will launch the country's first direct flight between Shanghai and New York in December.

"We will start the new flights on December 8," said Zhang Ming, a spokesman for the airline.

The carrier will fly four times a week to New York's John F. Kennedy airport.

China Eastern last month began daily paired routes between the south Chinese city of Guilin and Seoul as well as Changsha city in central China and Seoul.

It will also soon launch flights between Nanjing in east China and Busan in South Korea, between Qingdao in the east and Busan, and between Kunming in the southwest and Osaka, Zhang said.
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