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Old July 22nd, 2004, 09:09 PM   #221
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United Airlines Announces Start Date for New U.S.-Vietnam Service via Hong Kong



United to Provide First Scheduled U.S. Air Carrier Service to Vietnam in Nearly Three Decades, Beginning Dec. 9, 2004

Tickets for Daily San Francisco-Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh City Service On Sale Today

Chicago, July 22, 2004 -- United Airlines today announced that it will begin daily San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City service via Hong Kong effective December 9, 2004, following completion of the application process with the government of Vietnam. The first flight will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City on December 10, 2004, the third anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement.

"We are very excited by this historic opportunity to be the first U.S. carrier to provide direct service to Vietnam in almost 30 years. The route is an important addition to our global network and comes at the right time for travelers to and from the Asia-Pacific region," said Glenn Tilton, United's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"Vietnam holds huge potential of becoming a significant trading partner and an emerging market for U.S. goods and services," Tilton said. "No airline is better suited to provide the service than United."

"Our relationship with Vietnam has continued to grow over the past decades through the expansion of trade relations and the full restoration and normalization of diplomacy," said Senator John McCain (R-AZ). "I applaud United's historic new service to Vietnam and hope it serves to build a better future for the American and Vietnamese people. "

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts Vietnam's air travel industry will grow 10.5% per year for each of the next 10 years. From 1985-1999, it grew 29.5%. The country's rate of gross domestic product growth is currently keeping pace with that of China, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world today.

"The U.S. and Vietnam have experienced a dramatic increase in our commercial relations since the Bilateral Trade Agreement came into effect on December 10, 2001," said the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Raymond F. Burghardt. "Direct air connections are the next logical steps, and this should further increase trade, tourism and cultural relations between our two peoples."

United will operate combined passenger and cargo service using a Boeing 747-400 aircraft configured with 14 United First Suite® seats, 73 United Business® seats and 260 United Economy® class seats.

United Flight 869 will depart San Francisco at 12:10 p.m. on December 9 and arrive in Hong Kong at 7:00 p.m. on December 10. The continuing flight will depart Hong Kong at 8:55 p.m. and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 10:25 p.m. Beginning December 11, United Flight 862 will depart Ho Chi Minh City at 6:15 a.m. and arrive in Hong Kong at 9:40 a.m. The continuing flight will depart Hong Kong at 1:05 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 8:40 a.m. the same day.

Under the agreement reached between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, United will be permitted to carry passengers and cargo locally between Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong. In addition, United's Ho Chi Minh City

- Hong Kong service will provide a convenient onward connection to and from United's daily Hong Kong - Chicago service and beyond.

United, United Express and Ted operate more than 3,500 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe. News releases and other information about United may be found at the company's Web site at www.united.com.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 09:49 PM   #222
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United first to take up discount incentive
Keith Wallis, HK Standard

United Airlines (UA) has become the first carrier to take advantage of the Airport Authority's discount scheme for launching new routes with plans to start a daily service between Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam.

The carrier will become the first United States airline in 30 years to start scheduled services to Vietnam's commercial capital when it inaugurates the flights on December 10 using Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Wyn Li, UA's general manager for sales and marketing, said the Airport Authority initiative was one of the reasons why UA advanced the start of the flights from next year to December.

Under the plan announced by the Airport Authority two weeks ago, airlines launching new routes from September 8 will receive a 50 per cent discount on landing fees in the first year. There will be a 25 per cent discount in the second year.

Li said the airline was studying the possibility of launching several additional services through Hong Kong in the light of the Airport Authority's cut-price offer. He said the discounts would help offset the cost of operating new services and could make marginal services economically viable. "We are evaluating other possibilities - new cities, new routes and new opportunities. We are talking to head office people [in Chicago]. They might not all be worthwhile, but for Ho Chi Minh City, it is,'' he said.

Li said the carrier has asked for more information about the scheme because it wanted to be clear what was permissible, especially as it was different from a similar initiative introduced by Singapore's civil aviation authority.

UA's Ho Chi Minh City flights will compete with the twice daily service jointly operated by Cathay Pacific Airways and Vietnam Airlines. But Li was adamant there would not be a price war between the airlines. "Competition is always welcome. We don't see it as a big concern. We don't see a price war and we don't see a drop in fares,'' he said.

Travel agents will start selling tickets from today, although they could be bought online from the UA website Thursday night.

23 July 2004 / 02:41 AM
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 10:22 PM   #223
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Asia & Hong Kong Market Analyses
Budget carriers help slow economy fares

Staff reporter, HK Standard

Economy airfares in Asia Pacific increased at a slower rate than first and business class fares in the second quarter as rates were affected by the emerging budget airlines.

The American Express Asia Pacific Airfare Index showed that first and business class airfares rose 0.5 and 0.8 per cent respectively in the second quarter from the previous quarter. By comparison, full and discount economy fares edged up 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent.

Airfares in Hong Kong changed only slightly, it said, without giving the specific rates.

"First and business class fares do not appear to be impacted by the growing number of low-cost carriers around the region,'' said Kyle Davis, vice-president of corporate travel Asia Pacific/Australia at American Express, adding that any impact in airfares, as a result of low-cost carrier services, is generally felt in full economy and restricted economy fares.

Low-cost carriers, such as AirAsia and Valuair, have been expanding in the region over the past year, offering no-frills services and much lower rates on airfares to grab market share amid the tourism recovery.

Compared with a year ago, Hong Kong airfares increased by 3.1 per cent for first class, 3.3 per cent for business class, 0.4 per cent for full economy and 0.7 per cent for discount economy.

23 July 2004 / 02:42 AM
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 02:21 AM   #224
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 02:45 AM   #225
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Virgin goes flat out to match best-bed rival
Keith Wallis, HK Standard



Virgin Atlantic Airways has upped the ante on flights between Hong Kong and London with the introduction of its upper class suite featuring a fully flat bed.

The move coincides with the planned launch at the end of this year of flights between Hong Kong and Australia to complete Virgin's "Kangaroo Route" between London and Sydney.

Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman Angelina Wong said "50 per cent of flights between Hong Kong and London operate with the new upper class suite". She said all aircraft flying the route should be equipped with the new seats by November. Virgin Atlantic plans to launch the Hong Kong-Sydney service on December 7.

Currently, Virgin Atlantic is offering the cheapest business-type return fare between Hong Kong and London. Virgin's online upper class fare is HK$42,572 compared with Cathay Pacific which is offering a business class return fare of HK$47,648, while a first class return is HK$71,700. British Airways is the most expensive of the three, with a business class round trip fare of HK$48,135 and a first class return of HK$88,850.

The introduction of the suites on Hong Kong services has led to a skirmish between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways,

which has claimed it is the only airline operating between Hong Kong and London to offer a truly flat bed in business.

Wong said: "It was, but not any more. We object to the word 'only'."

The suites have generated a mixed reaction among passengers, although most appear to be in favour. While most other seats extend to create a flatish bed, the Virgin seats flip over to form a proper flat bed with a mattress. And although the seats are more comfortable, the traditional side-by-side twin seats have been replaced by an individual pod seat offset at about 45 degrees so that most face into the cabin rather than straight ahead.

This means that while it is easier to talk to people in adjacent seats, the suites appear to offer less privacy and it is no longer possible to look directly out of the window.

But at 56 centimetres wide and 202cm long, the beds are wider and longer than first class seats and beds of most other airlines.

23 July 2004 / 02:47 AM
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 05:05 AM   #226
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Insignia takes air travel to new plane
Keith Wallis, HK Standard

Metrojet, part of the Kadoorie family's Hong Kong Aviation Group, has launched a fixed-price membership scheme for individuals and corporate charter customers in an attempt to boost business jet travel.

Called Insignia, the programme offers a fixed-zone pricing scheme for more than 50 Asia destinations.

The package includes all-inclusive return trips on a Metrojet aircraft plus complimentary airport transfers by helicopter, limousine or sports car and priority aircraft reservations.

Basic Membership costs US$37,500 (HK$292,500) which includes a return flight from Hong Kong to any destination in zones one to three including Taipei, Beijing, Singapore, Kunming, Phuket and Nagasaki and an allowance towards further travel. Customers paying US$75,000 for enhanced membership will receive one return trip to any of the regional destinations in the programme, such as Tokyo, Jakarta, Calcutta and Osaka or multiple trips to a combination of zoned destinations.

The scheme also includes three- day, two-night packages starting from US$25,000 and rising to US$37,500 to Bangkok, Manila, Brunei, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and cities in China. There are also four-day, three-night packages costing between US$43,750 and US$50,000 to destinations such as Guam, Nagoya, and Ulsan.

Outlining the benefits of corporate jet travel, Metrojet business development manager Jolie Chung said flying direct to a customer's destinations "provides the fastest way to visit any number of metropolitan areas. Flight schedules are determined by customers' agendas - if plans change, so can flight times and destinations''. The aircraft also serves as a private business centre where confidential meetings can be held on the ground or en route to the next destination.

In the past 18 months Metrojet, which operates a 10-seat twin-jet Gulfstream 200 and has a second on order for delivery in October, posted a 20 per cent rise in the number of charter flight reservations for both business and leisure travel.

23 July 2004 / 02:47 AM
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Old July 24th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #227
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Photos from 3asv37 @ a Hong Kong transport forum :

Quote:
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Old July 25th, 2004, 06:03 PM   #228
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Old July 25th, 2004, 06:31 PM   #229
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Latest Photo of New Livery :
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/626043/L/

04 March 2003
Air Hong Kong signs order for six airbus freighters

AHK Air Hong Kong Ltd. today signed a purchase agreement for six new Airbus A300-600F General Freighter aircraft in order to implement its previously announced plan to expand operations within the Asian region.

The six wide-body aircraft are scheduled for delivery between the second half of 2004 and first quarter of 2005. AHK, the Hong Kong-based all-cargo carrier, also has options on four more of the same aircraft type for possible delivery at a later date. A final decision has yet to be made on which engine will power the aircraft.

AHK will be the launch customer for the A300-600F General Freighter, which differs from A300-600F aircraft currently being built for other carriers in that it has a loading system and side door capable of handling large items of general freight in addition to small packages.

AHK's order is in furtherance of its cooperative venture with DHL Worldwide Express, signed in October 2002, to support DHL's services to major cities in the Asia Pacific region from AHK's base at Hong Kong International Airport. AHK currently operates a DHL service to Tokyo. Cathay Pacific Airways owns 70 percent of AHK and DHL holds a 30 percent stake.

AHK Air Hong Kong Chairman Tony Tyler said: Air Hong Kong is now set to further the development of its partnership with DHL. This aircraft order demonstrates Air Hong Kong's commitment to enhancing Hong Kong's position as Asia¡'s leading air cargo hub, and to strengthening the scope and quality of service that we already provide DHL.
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Old July 25th, 2004, 08:00 PM   #230
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Old July 25th, 2004, 08:12 PM   #231
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Aviation Weather Report (METAR/SPECI)

METAR is an aviation routine weather report issued at hourly or half-hourly intervals. It is a description of the meteorological elements observed at an airport at a specific time.

SPECI is an aviation special weather report issued when there is significant deterioration or improvement in airport weather conditions, such as significant changes of surface winds, visibility, cloud base height and occurrence of severe weather. The format of the SPECI report is similar to that of the METAR and the elements used have the same meaning. The identifier METAR or SPECI at the beginning of the weather report differentiates them.

The aviation weather report also includes a section containing the trend forecast, which indicates the forecast change in meteorological conditions in the next two hours.

Website : http://www.weather.gov.hk/aviat/wxobs_decode_e.htm

Weather Around HKIA


The Hong Kong Observatory received a report of waterspout sighted by a Government Flying Service pilot at around 8 a.m. this morning (9 July 2003, Wednesday). The Observatory's Weather Observer at the airport observed the associated funnel cloud over the western part of the Pearl Estuary near Macau, moving northeastward. Two hours later, the Observer again observed another funnel cloud somewhere midway between Macau and the airport (see Figure 1). It moved in the same direction and lasted for about 10 minutes.

A waterspout occurs over water, and tornado is its equivalent over land. It usually involves a fast rotating column of air extending from the base of a convective cloud to the water surface. A rotating column of air (made visible by cloud droplets) that does not touch the water surface is called a funnel cloud.

In Hong Kong, a waterspout was last spotted on 1 July 2003. Waterspouts are most commonly seen in June and July. Since 1959, there were a total of 29 cases of waterspout and 12 cases of funnel cloud sighted within 460 kilometres (250 nautical miles) of Hong Kong.


The above photograph was taken at around 3 p.m. on 10 April 2004 during a hike over the western part of Lantau Island. Wave clouds were seen above the hilltops of Lantau Peak and Nei Lek Shan. These clouds are believed to be formed by wave motions in the southerly airflow, where moisture in the air condenses into water droplets as a result of upward motions. It was not particularly windy on that day, so even though wave clouds were observed over Lantau, aircraft operating at the airport to the north did not experience any windshear or turbulence.


The picture shows a special optical phenomenon called halo, seen over Chek Lap Kok on 17 April 2003. Halos result from the refraction or reflection of light by ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.


The airfield was directly hit by lightning strike on 2 August 2002. Thundery showers associated with an area of low pressure over the northern part of the South China Sea affected Hong Kong that evening. The area of low pressure developed into a tropical depression named Kammuri the next day. The photograph was taken by Mr. C.S. Yuen at the Airport Meteorological Office with ISO-100 negative film using long exposure and a F16 aperture.





Mountain wave cloud (also known as lenticular cloud, i.e. lens shaped) was observed on the hilltop of Lantau on 12 August 2003. The picture was taken at around 2:20 p.m. that afternoon at the Hong Kong International Airport looking south-southeast towards Lantau with a setting of 1/160s, F8.0 and ISO-100 speed. At the time winds were light to moderate southerly, with showers just passing over Lantau an hour earlier.

Lenticular clouds are evident of wave motions in the airflow over and to the lee of mountains, where the moisture in the air condenses into water droplets as a result of the upward motions. They are more often observed in the cool season when the air is more stable. However, in this case, it was a little unusual that lenticular clouds were observed on a summer day. It is believed that a weak stable layer ("inversion" in weathermen's terminology) at around the hilltop level might have contributed to the cloud formation.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:59 AM   #232
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If you have problems viewing these photos, it might be because of a proxy requirement. Please set your proxy server to 210.3.7.150, port 8080 (or any other Hong Kong proxy server) and you should be OK:

Ignore the prompt for a web ICQ username / password. Just click cancel and the photos will still load.





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Old July 26th, 2004, 10:02 PM   #233
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HK jet-setters go by name and looks
Vanson Soo, HK Standard

Hong Kong people pay more attention to an airline's reputation than air fares when travelling, a study shows.

They also travel more than most others around the world while local men say they would choose pretty airline hostesses over food and inflight movies, according to the study conducted by market researcher Synovate.

The global travel survey showed that 30 per cent of Hong Kong travellers would consider a carrier's reputation the most important factor in choosing an airline, while only 15 per cent would be lured by cheaper tickets. This is in steep contrast to global trends where 64 per cent of travellers worldwide opted for a budget airline over bigger or national carriers despite the fact that 32 per cent of those surveyed felt that budget airlines "treat passengers like a commodity - there is no personal service''.

About 75 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that "an airline trip is just like a bus trip'' and all they sought was "to get there fast and cheap''. Overall, 73 per cent were even prepared to give up inflight meals if the price was lower.

Only 27 per cent said they would avoid budget airlines at all costs. "With all airlines under a number of economic pressures in the post-September 11 world, budget airlines are offering tickets at about half the current market prices on one to two-hour short-haul flights,'' said Tom Mularz, head of global omnibus at Synovate.

"But anyone who has flown commercially over the past few years can attest to the fact that the glamour of air travel has long since dissipated.

"Today, cost-conscious airlines, especially in North America and Europe, have created a hodge-podge of budget airlines with long lines, self-service shortcuts and decreasing legroom and amenities.''

The study also found that about 80 per cent of those surveyed from Hong Kong had flown before, much higher than the global average of 59 per cent.

The majority of all respondents said they travelled primarily for leisure.

Hong Kong travellers said they travelled for leisure 87 per cent of the time, with 6 per cent for business and the remaining for both leisure and business.

Overall, 25 per cent of all men surveyed - twice the number of women - felt that good-looking cabin crew was important in their choice of airlines, though this was not the case with the majority of German and French males.

Among Hong Kong men, more than 30 per cent said they would choose pretty cabin crew over food and movies. Americans came a close second at 29 per cent.

The study concluded that airlines needed to become more sophisticated in their understanding of travellers' needs, and budget airlines in Asia had the potential to expand the market generally.

The study covered about 5,000 respondents from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

27 July 2004 / 02:31 AM
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Old July 29th, 2004, 01:52 AM   #234
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Old July 30th, 2004, 04:15 PM   #235
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Friday July 30, 10:22 AM
CR Airways to Service Hong Kong-Da Nang Route

HANOI, July 30 Asia Pulse - Hong Kong's third airline, CR Airways, is to re-introduce a flight from Hong Kong to the central city of Da Nang today, marking the airline's debut in Vietnam. CR Airways will fly its 50-seater Canadian Bombardier CR200 aircraft on this new route.

The CR Airways flight resumes the direct service from Hong Kong to Da Nang which was, until July 16, operational on a biweekly basis under the HCM City-based Pacific Airlines.

The CR Airway's Hong Kong-Da Nang service is to be launched as a result of tourism-related agencies, including the Furama Resort Da Nang, the management of the World Heritage Road Programme, the Da Nang Tourism authority and their Hong Kong counterparts.

Initially, there will be two flights per month, the second flight is scheduled for 12 August. Later there will be weekly flights on the route, said the Director of Da Nang Tourism Department, Luong Minh Sam.

He added that Da Nang City authorities have taken efforts to establish other air routes linking the city with other cities in South Korea, Singapore and Kunming, China.

(VNA)
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Old July 30th, 2004, 10:25 PM   #236
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Old July 31st, 2004, 10:36 PM   #237
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Old August 1st, 2004, 05:25 PM   #238
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 07:25 PM   #239
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Airport gets $2b projects off ground

The Airport Authority, the statutory body that operates and maintains Hong Kong International Airport, said it plans to invest HK$2 billion by 2010 in an effort to boost returns.

The authority, which plans to seek a listing on the local bourse, said one project is a HK$1 billion investment in SkyPlaza, the integrated multi-modal transportation centre that will extend the passenger terminal.

The project includes construction of a covered coach station, airline check-in facilities, 30,000 square metres of retail and entertainment facilities, and a 15,000 sqm office block to be used as the authority's headquarters.

Another HK$1 billion will be spent on its SkyPier project, which is aimed at attracting mainland travellers using ferries linking the airport with Pearl River Delta cities. It is operated by Hong Kong International Airport Ferry Services, a 60-40 joint venture between Chu Kong Shipping Enterprises and Shun Tak-China Travel International Logistics Investment.

Airport Authority commercial director Hans Bakker said the authority is looking at a minimum annual return of 10 per cent for its new investment projects. Meanwhile, Bakker expects passenger numbers at Hong Kong International Airport to surge to about 36 million this year, compared to 27.67 million last year and 34.2 million in 2002.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 05:21 PM   #240
hkskyline
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FedEx's Incheon run to boost Asia network
Keith Wallis, HK Standard



FedEx Express, the United States courier and logistics company, will reveal plans today for a thrice weekly non-stop service between Hong Kong and Incheon, South Korea, in a move that will bolster both its Hong Kong and inter-Asia connectivity.

Peter Yin, FedEx Express regional vice-president for South Pacific, confirmed that the services, using Boeing MD-11 freighters with a 90-tonne payload, would be inaugurated soon.

He said the flights would be the first direct link between Hong Kong and Seoul. Previous cargo services were handled through FedEx's major Asian hub at Clark airbase in the Philippines.

Yin said Hong Kong has about five direct cargo services to both Clark and the US. He added that talks are also continuing with Asia Airfreight Terminal (AAT) at Hong Kong International Airport about the role FedEx Express would have in its new HK$1.75 billion second terminal. But he said it is too early to outline concrete proposals. FedEx is a shareholder in AAT. Yin, who agreed that the facility is another example of FedEx's commitment to Hong Kong, said: "Whatever arrangements there are, the connection would facilitate trade and air flow."

He was speaking after confirming that FedEx Express had applied to the US transportation department for 18 extra frequencies between China and the US. FedEx Express has applied for 12 out of the 21 weekly frequencies that were available to US all-cargo carriers from yesterday. It would use six of these flights to launch a westbound round-the-world service connecting Shanghai with the US and other cities in Asia and Europe.

The other six frequencies would be used to inaugurate a direct link between Qingdao and the US.

FedEx Express has also requested six of the 18 additional frequencies that would be available from March 25 next year. These would be used to institute an eastbound round-the-world service linking Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing with India, Europe and the US as well as other Asian locations. There is no concrete timetable for the launch of the new flights, assuming that it wins all its requested frequencies.

Outlining the importance of the mainland market, Yin said total volumes rose 50 per cent in the last financial year which ended on May 31. "China is a great market. It's an important market for us,'' he said.

Yin said FedEx Express is still working on its options for Guangzhou's new Baiyun international airport after signing a framework agreement to study Baiyun as a potential site for a future cargo hub.

3 August 2004 / 02:58 AM
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