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View Poll Results: Scale from 1 to 10, 10 being SUPER and 1 being BAD, what would you rate the Airport??
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Old September 30th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #361
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Old September 30th, 2004, 10:50 PM   #362
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Old October 1st, 2004, 12:20 AM   #363
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Old October 1st, 2004, 03:23 AM   #364
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Old October 1st, 2004, 08:24 PM   #365
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Old October 2nd, 2004, 07:46 AM   #366
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Copyright 2004 South China Morning Post Ltd.
October 2, 2004

The new pilot should ensure smooth flight Ronny Wong, an apparent Tung loyalist, is expected to minimise air licence turbulence

For the second year in a row, the Air Transport Licensing Authority (Atla) could soon find itself at the centre of a local aviation industry storm.

Last year, the independent statutory body charged with licensing presided over a bitterly contested 11-day hearing, played out over four months of melodrama. This ultimately resulted in Cathay Pacific Airways winning rights to resume mainland operations over objections from Dragonair.

The coming months should produce another public hearing after CR Airways, backed by locally-listed ChinaRich Holdings' chairman Robert Yip, applied for mainland routes, a move that is again likely to draw protest from Dragonair and startup carrier Hong Kong Express, spun-off from Helicopters Hong Kong, which runs the Hong Kong-Macau helicopter services and also has designs on those routes.

CR Airways has applied for an Atla licence to fly from Hong Kong to Guilin, Haikou, Changsha, Tianjin, Sanya and Wuhan - six cities to which Dragonair holds Atla licences and already operates.

One difference between the two hearings is the man presiding over the bench. The meticulous but thoroughly non-partisan High Court Justice William Stone, who had chaired the Hong Kong regulatory body since 1999, recently stepped down to be replaced by former Bar Association chairman Ronny Wong Fook-hum.

While an unknown quantity in aviation circles, Mr Wong is no stranger to public service, having served on numerous government boards and committees. He has been chairman of the Town Planning Appeal Board Panel and the Inland Revenue Board of Review and a member of the Hongkong Futures Exchange and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Atla is the appointed licensing body - a state of affairs originating largely from the government's "one route, one airline" policy - and is called upon to arbitrate competition policy, with one of its prime objectives to help avoid uneconomical overlaps.

Mr Wong's appointment comes at a crucial juncture. CR Airways and Hong Kong Express plans for mainland-focused services from Chek Lap Kok mean the comfortable 20-year duopoly of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair will end.

The bigger question bedeviling the government is whether Hong Kong's aviation market should be thrown open to all comers, so ending the need for a government-appointed body to manage the competition process.

For now, Mr Wong prefers not to face such questions and declined to comment for this article.

So what can be gleaned about the new Atla chairman and how he will face these challenges? Barrister colleagues paint Mr Wong as a serious figure yet personable, highly respected, well-regarded and successful in the profession.

"Ronny is normally involved in big cases. He is a good organiser ... and prepares his cases well," said one barrister who preferred to remain anonymous. He said Mr Wong was a "very successful barrister".

He recalled that Mr Wong was once at the University of Hong Kong, teaching trust law: "He was a good teacher and also practical, helping prepare students for their legal careers."

Mr Wong's political leanings are not widely known, although another prominent barrister noted "he is believed to be very pro-government, with all that that statement implies".

His chairmanship of the Bar Association lasted, unusually, for only a one-year term in 1994. "That is unusual in that most people would normally serve for two years," a legal source said.

The source recalled a tempest in a teapot following a proposal from Mr Wong to alter the association's logo, which is a combination of the Four Inns of Court in London.

"It was Mr Wong's opinion that the logo should be changed in anticipation of the resumption of Chinese sovereignty in 1997. There were a number of different new designs put forward and one by Mr Wong that included a bauhinia design," the source said.

More recently, Mr Wong served on the tribunal to probe alleged political interference into the polling activities of political scientist Robert Chung Ting-yiu.

The affair followed efforts by the personal assistant of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to massage polls highlighting the unpopularity of his boss.

The tribunal concluded that Mr Chung had been wronged by the university but the question of whether he was acting under higher authority was not answered.

The affair revealed little about Mr Wong's political leanings but a barrister commented "one interpretation could be that there was some element of protection for the chief executive".

So Mr Wong seems to be a Hong Kong, as well as perhaps a Tung administration, loyalist.

What his chairmanship of Atla will mean for the development of the local airline market as more competitors emerge remains to be seen. But given the bitterness that emerged between Cathay and Dragonair from last year's Atla hearings, Mr Wong appears to be a safe pair of hands, ideal for a government keen to avoid more controversy.

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Old October 2nd, 2004, 07:22 PM   #367
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 02:37 AM   #368
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The Big Picture - China & Hong Kong Aviation
China: Beijing and back for a buck?


27 September 2004
Economist Intelligence Unit - Business China

China’s flying public may be ready for discount airlines, but is the government?

The September 15th announcement by a Chinese-Singapore consortium of plans to begin discount airline services from Guangzhou’s new Baiyun airport has upped the stakes for other budget carriers jostling for access to Chinese skies.

While the as-yet-unnamed group is not the first to develop plans for discount air travel in China -- Malaysia’s AirAsia is currently negotiating to begin flights to Chengdu and Kunming at the end of this year -- it is a more significant development for two reasons. First, the consortium is majority-owned by the well-connected state-owned travel company, Guangzhou China Travel Service, which has the clout to fight both red tape from Beijing and entrenched opposition from China’s major airlines. And second, it is focused on starting domestic services.

Whether or not the new group will get off the ground is still unknown: plenty of industry participants and observers doubt Beijing’s willingness to expose China’s protected and largely inefficient carriers to the rigours of such an ultra-competitive market. Years of overexpansion and price wars have led to large losses for domestic carriers. Costs are high at China’s three major airline groups, Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, while load factors currently languish around the 60% mark, compared to the 70%-plus commonly found at other Asian airlines. Moreover, the big three are still digesting the absorption of a dozen smaller (and even less efficient) carriers completed in 2002.

The way to fly

Undoubtedly, however, the naysayers have become less vociferous of late. This is perhaps because of the dramatic impact discount airlines are having on other aviation markets, especially in Europe. Travellers flying into any major low-cost hub these days -- London’s Gatwick airport, for one -- are confronted with a host of newly-painted jets from carriers that did not exist a couple of years ago. While cut-throat competition may see many of these quickly disappear, the market trend is clear. And with the birth of a regional low-cost model in south-east Asia, where 10 budget start-ups have begun flights in the last 18 months, the introduction of the discount-flight phenomenon in China is only a matter of time, says Peter Harbison, managing director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a Sydney-based consultancy.

The transition, however, will not be easy. Quite likely, analysts say, any opening will be introduced in increments, with international services the first to figure. Setting up domestic services will be considerably more difficult. Not only can the incumbents be expected to protect their turf fiercely, but finding a way through the morass of required approvals for ticket pricing, aircraft imports and route structures will throw up further delays. These kinds of obstacles may explain why the new Guangzhou-based consortium is not anticipating starting flights until 2006.

While the consequences of deregulation are unlikely to be positive for China’s big three carriers, other parts of the aviation industry should fare better. In particular, a budget airline boom would help at least some of China’s many loss-making airports. During the 1990s, dozens of small regional airports were constructed across China, either as local government vanity projects or as a result of over-ambitious central government plans to open up the west of the country. Guangdong’s Zhuhai airport, which opened in 1995, is a perfect example of bureaucratic folly. Aimed at stealing business from more established Pearl River Delta rivals at Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it flopped miserably. Last year it handled just 585,000 passengers and 7,500 tonnes of freight. According to local media reports, it is now losing US$2.4m per month.

Zhuhai is not alone: few other city airports make money, and in 2002, Beijing instructed local governments to take over ownership and management of such money-losing white elephants, an exercise completed in June this year. A discount airline boom could change things markedly for the better at such places. Because discount carriers depend on a business model that cuts costs to the bone, cheaper, underused regional airports near large population centres make ideal operational hubs. Macau airport, a tiddler by any standards, is already AirAsia’s base in the Pearl River Delta. Should Beijing agree to open its market, even Zhuhai may have hope. “China has a lot of small airports it needs to build out but which lack the economics to make that happen by themselves. So if foreign companies choose to make them bases for discount airlines, they are likely to welcome that,” says Michael Chan, a transport analyst at Bank of China International.

Harder for Hong Kong

Greater deregulation of China’s aviation market is also likely to have an impact on Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport. Although Hong Kong has for years benefited from Chinese capacity restrictions by acting as a transit point for both cargo and passenger traffic into China, more access to mainland skies will mean less reason to use Hong Kong’s expensive facilities.

The threat here comes not only from the region’s discount carriers. China has recently made a number of agreements allowing more foreign airlines to fly directly to the mainland. The signing in June of a new Sino-US Air Services Agreement will allow an additional 195 weekly flights by US carriers by the end of a six-year phase in period, up from a current total of 54. By 2010, airlines from both countries will be able to serve any point in either country.

While the Sino-US agreement promises to make real inroads into Hong Kong’s role as a passenger transit hub, the impact on its air-cargo business may be even more profound. Hong Kong has long dominated the Pearl River Delta’s market for air-cargo. In 2003, it processed 2.64m tonnes of freight, or about 90% of all regional air shipments -- more even than the 2.19m tonnes handled in all of the mainland. But with 70% of its business originating in the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong’s traditional stranglehold over the sector is tenuous. Already, despite its superb facilities, frequent flight connections and years of accumulated expertise, it is losing market share to rival airports across the border.

In addition, with Beijing also agreeing to allow US cargo carriers to establish hub operations in China, air freight companies are looking to make large investments in new Chinese facilities, many of which will be built at the expense of their operations in Hong Kong. Fedex, for example, is negotiating with Guangzhou’s Baiyun airport to make it the location for its second Asia-Pacific hub after its current operation at the Philippines’ Subic Bay.

As a result, Hong Kong’s longstanding take-it–or-leave-it attitude to its high-cost structure is starting to be modified, with airport executives talking about ways in which airport charges could be discounted. The airport is also negotiating to buy a stake in rival facilities at either Shenzhen or Zhuhai. Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd, meanwhile, which handles about 80% of Hong Kong’s air cargo shipments, has commenced bonded barge and truck delivery services between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta with the goal of reducing cross-border bureaucracy.

Pie for all

That said, Hong Kong’s dominance in air-cargo is unlikely to be lost any time soon. Mainland airports have nowhere near the same international flight frequencies and lift capacity demanded by customers. Besides, there will be plenty of business to go round. A recent independent study commissioned by the Hong Kong Airport Authority projects that annual air cargo volume in Hong Kong is set to rise to 4.5m tonnes by 2020. At the same time, Hong Kong’s share of the cargo market will shrink dramatically, to just 47% of a Pearl River Delta total of 9.6m tonnes. The share for Guangzhou’s new Baiyun airport is set to rise to 27%, Shenzhen’s to 17%.

While a half-share of a market four times bigger may be no bad thing for Hong Kong, over the longer term, even this proportion may not be sustainable. Rapid deregulation in the mainland -- for which the discount airline phenomenon will act as a catalyst -- is likely to cause large problems for those who benefit from things as they are now. For China’s major carriers, as well as the Hong Kong Airport Authority, that is an unsettling prospect, and one they can be expected to resist.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 04:56 AM   #369
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 07:50 PM   #370
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Old October 4th, 2004, 01:32 AM   #371
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/abm/cargo_aircraft











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Old October 4th, 2004, 04:54 PM   #372
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/shooter167/airport













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Old October 4th, 2004, 09:58 PM   #373
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Old October 5th, 2004, 10:48 PM   #374
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Dragonair warns it may increase fuel surcharge
Danny Chung, HK Standard

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair), the local carrier 43 per cent owned by China National Aviation Corp, said it may apply for an extension and increase of the fuel surcharge when the current three-month period expires at the end of November.

Dragonair chief executive Stanley Hui said on Tuesday that the decision to increase the fuel surcharge would hinge upon oil prices in November.

"I don't want to add [surcharges], but if oil prices continue to go up like this, I don't have any choice,'' he said.

The price of crude oil rose above US$50 per barrel (HK$390) for the first time last week on concerns that supply may be interrupted by political tension in Nigeria, one of the main oil supplying nations.

Hui said for every one US cent increase in fuel costs, operating costs would increase by HK$12 million, with fuel costs at Dragonair expected to hit HK$500 million for this year.

Dragonair's fuel costs are expected to jump from 8 per cent of general costs two years ago to 16 per cent this year, and oil prices would have to drop to below US$40 before fuel surcharges could be withdrawn, he added.

Although fuel surcharges for passengers were imposed in March and April last year and starting from June this year, Hui said the airline had not seen any noticeable effect on passenger numbers.

Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman Stella Tse said, as of Tuesday, 38 airlines had applied for fuel surcharges ranging from US$4 to US$19.

Cathay Pacific corporate communications manager Maria Yu said it was still too early to consider applying for an extension of the fuel surcharge period.

"Of course, we would monitor oil prices before making any decision,'' she said.

Yu said high fuel prices this year accounted for an estimated 25 per cent increase in operating costs.

For cargo, a fuel surcharge was imposed in May by about 70 airlines, according to a schedule of levy bands approved in 2002.

"So far, the surcharge has reached the highest [band],'' Tse said.

Current levies are at the sixth and highest level, which are HK$1.20 per kilogram for short-haul flights and HK$2.40 per kilo for long-haul services.

Air Hong Kong general manager Alex Lau said the dedicated air cargo carrier was also closely monitoring the current high oil prices.

He said higher bands of surcharges may be required.

6 October 2004 / 02:00 AM
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Old October 6th, 2004, 05:46 AM   #375
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Old October 6th, 2004, 06:34 AM   #376
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Air India at Chek Lap Kok International (HKG / VHHH)





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Old October 6th, 2004, 06:47 AM   #377
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Old October 6th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #378
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #379
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Copyright 2004 South China Morning Post Ltd.
October 6, 2004

Cathay warns of $ 1b extra costs The carrier is undecided about applying for an extension to the fuel surcharge
Russell Barling

Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday said its fuel costs were expected to rise HK$ 1 billion this year as surging oil prices continued to add to operating expenses.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair) said it would apply to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) next month for an extension to its fuel surcharge, with no sign that jet fuel prices would recede in the short term.

"We may have to pay in excess of HK$ 1 billion more for fuel over the whole year," Cathay spokeswoman Carolyn Leung Yuet-fong said yesterday, adding that the company would have to renew efforts to keep other costs down and increase productivity to offset the impact that would have on earnings.

The airline remains undecided whether to seek an extension to its fuel surcharge.

Dragonair said fuel costs accounted for 20 per cent of its operating expenses in August, up from 8 per cent two years ago. However, 20 per cent of the rise was due to a comparative 28 per cent jump in the size of its passenger fleet.

"If fuel prices remain at current levels for the remainder of this year, it would result in additional costs for us of HK$ 400 million to $ 500 million," Dragonair spokeswoman Laura Crampton said. "We plan to apply for extension of the surcharge given that the cost of fuel remains at such a high level."

Crude oil for November delivery surged to a record US$ 50.70 a barrel in New York on Monday.

Dragonair was allowed by the CAD on September 1 to add HK$ 54 per flight to partially compensate for higher fuel costs, but that deal expires at the end of next month. Cathay was allowed to charge an extra US$ 7 for short-haul and $ 19 for long-haul flights.

Cathay chairman James Hughes-Hallett said in May that every one US cent rise in the price of a gallon of fuel added HK$ 60 million to the airline's operating costs.

At the time, jet fuel trading in Singapore was priced at US$ 48.60 a barrel. The commodity was trading at US$ 58.15 a barrel on Monday, a level which would increase Cathay's fuel-based operating costs by HK$ 1.36 billion if the higher level was maintained for the full year.

The airline's fuel bill was HK$ 3.43 billion in the first half, up 39 per cent year on year. Fuel has since risen to 25 per cent of operating costs for the carrier from 21.8 per cent in the first half.

Cathay is strongly hedged this year, pre-buying at lower rates 65 million to 70 million gallons of fuel per quarter, according to its annual report last year. That drops dramatically next year to less than 10 million gallons in the first two quarters.

"Our hedging positions are limited," Ms Leung said. "With fuel prices at record highs we will increase our cover cautiously, as the downside risk is at present greater than the upside protection."
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:11 AM   #380
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Airport alliance difficult to see through murky intrigue

1 October 2004
South China Morning Post

With so much murky information being thrown around about the Airport Authority's efforts to strike strategic partnerships with its counterparts over the border, gaining clarity is getting to be as difficult as seeing across Hong Kong harbour.

The parties to the negotiations are reluctant even to admit they are meeting, leading Below Deck's more scurrilous media colleagues to float some outlandish suppositions. Let me join them.

Most of the intrigue has been surrounding a potential equity swap with the authority's most logical partner among Guangdong's four "international" airports, Shenzhen Baoan.

Combining Shenzhen's domestic network with Hong Kong's international flights would create a formidable regional partnership, one that certainly would prop up Hong Kong's teetering status as the premier gateway to China.

Shenzhen would have a powerful new ally in its bid to hold on to its share of the south China market in the face of some extremely stiff competition from the ambitious citizens in Guangzhou.

Both sides have a lot to gain, so what's the hold up?

They have been meeting - either formally or informally - every month since the idea of an equity swap or strategic investment was raised more than a year ago.

Reportedly, the authority initially baulked at the high valuation Shenzhen officials put on their listed asset. Perhaps more accurately, the authority would like to have more flexibility in picking the specific assets at which it will throw Hong Kong taxpayers' money.

According to mainland sources, the assets of Shenzhen-listed A-share vehicle Shenzhen Airport Co comprise passenger ground-handling facilities, including terminals I and II, a portion of the joint-venture cargo-handling facilities, and tertiary enterprises such as ticketing and advertising agencies and nearby port services.

Shenzhen would like to see the authority acquire some - but not too many - of the full shares in the listed vehicle; the authority, however, would prefer to be more selective with its investment.

Executives who have been doing business with the Shenzhen authorities say there are other hurdles that remain in front of the partnership.

Apparently, the Airport Authority has insisted that Shenzhen surrender its international passenger service ambitions before any agreement is forged. Singapore Airlines is the only foreign carrier to offer international flights at Baoan so the immediate impact on earnings or schedules would not be prohibitive.

But international flights are potentially a vast revenue stream, especially when you consider the pace at which China's middle class is emerging.

Shenzhen authorities, understandably, are more than a little reluctant to surrender that potential for time immemorial.

It is not something Shenzhen should dwell on for too long, according to one academic.

"If I were Baoan, I wouldn't push the authority too hard to keep my international network," he said. "I mean, if you were British Airways, where would you launch services to, Guangzhou or Baoan?"

The government would have to approve any deal the authority may cut with a mainland partner. But it is understood the guardians of arguably our most strategic asset would look more favourably at a sensible arrangement with Shenzhen than one with, say, Zhuhai, or some facility outside Hong Kong's traditional catchment area.

In line with the "it's not about the money" spin on the privatisation of the authority, the government's priority is that any deal enhance the flow of traffic through Chek Lap Kok, rather than fatten its return on investment.
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