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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:29 AM   #821
hkskyline
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Resurfacing enhances runway performance
1st phase of $62M works to complete this month


(HONG KONG, 10 March 2005) - The first stage of the resurfacing of the north runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will be completed by the end of this month, in anticipation of a continuous growth in aircraft movements expected to top 250,000 flights in the coming year.

The four-month project was part of the recommendations laid down in a review of the major airport systems. Commenced in December last year, works include enhancements of the structural strength, surface friction, roughness, as well as profile of the north runway, which is primarily used for landings.

In 2004, there were a total of 237,000 takeoffs and landings at HKIA. Growth is expected to be more than five per cent in 2005.

Airport Authority Hong Kong's (AA) Acting General Manager of Airfield, Mr C K Ng, said, "Runway operation is crucial to the smooth and safe performance of an airport. With an average of 650 flights landing and taking off at HKIA each day, at intervals as frequent as one in less than two minutes during peak hours, we are uncompromising in providing and securing the highest runway standards."

AA Senior Manager of Technical Services, Mr Ricky Leung, added, "A safe runway means the surface is sturdy to endure the impact of repeated landing; there is adequate surface friction to prevent skidding; and a smooth profile to avoid excessive roughness and bumpiness which may cause pre-mature fatigue and landing instability of any landing aircrafts."

A total of 87,000 sq m, equivalent to the size of 87 Olympic standard swimming pools, of asphalt will have been removed and resurfaced when the current project completes. Total project costs amount to $62M.

Resurfacing takes place five days a week between 11pm and 8am when aircraft landings and takeoffs are the least busy and are diverted to use the south runway.

The two runways at HKIA are both 3,800 m long and 60 m wide. In dual operation, the two runways can handle 52 flight movements per hour.

The second stage of the resurfacing works will take place in the winter of 2006/07 and similar enhancement project at the south runway, which is mainly used for takeoffs, has been planned for the year 2007/08.

In addition to overall enhancement projects, safe and efficient runway operations are attributed to regular and meticulous management and maintenance.

Visual inspections and thorough checks of the two runways are conducted five times a day and one time a week respectively to ensure the runways are in the best conditions. Maintenance works including rubber removal, line marking repainting and partial resurfacing are carried out at regular intervals.

Mr Ng said the AA always maintain the highest vigilance in ensuring safe runway operations and in case of emergencies, strive to minimize impact on passengers and airport operations. Efforts include regular drills and close coordination and communication with relevant government departments, airlines and ground services operators.

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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #822
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How the Chek Lap Kok Airport landing light can float over ther sea???

Very impressive airport, wow
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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:55 AM   #823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilean_sky
How the Chek Lap Kok Airport landing light can float over ther sea???

Very impressive airport, wow
See this photo:


Source: Airliners.Net (Hannes Meyer)
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Old March 15th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #824
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Hong Kong Airport Feb Passengers Up 29% On Year To 3.11M
14 March 2005

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Passenger traffic through the Hong Kong International Airport rose 29% on year in February, boosted by heavy overseas travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, the Airport Authority said.

The authority said Sunday that passenger numbers in February were 3.11 million, up from 2.41 million in February last year.

The airport had the busiest ever Lunar New Year holiday, with a single-day record number of 150,000 on Feb. 13. The average daily traffic over the festival was 118,000 passengers a day, up 10% on year.

The festival period ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 20.

Driven by the strong growth in passenger throughput, the number of aircraft takeoffs and landings rose 11% to 19,075.

Cargo throughput, however, fell 3% to 216,000 metric tons due to the usual slack cargo traffic during the Lunar New Year holiday.

- By Ruby Chan, Dow Jones Newswires
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Old March 15th, 2005, 03:48 PM   #825
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Lunar New Year holiday boosts HK air traffic in Feb.

HONG KONG, March 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's airport handled nearly 29 percent more passengers in February than the same period a year ago, boosted by travel during the long Lunar New Year holidays.

Over 3.1 million passengers passed through the airport last month, with aircraft movements up 11 percent, the Hong Kong Airport Authority said in a statement.

But cargo throughput dropped by 3.1 percent to 216,000 tonnes as air freight movements slackened during the holidays.

In the past 12 months, over 37.8 million passengers travelled through the Hong Kong airport, up 38.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

Cargo tonnage rose 16 percent in the past 12 months to 3.14 million tonnes and aircraft movements surged 26.8 percent to 240,030.

(US$1=HK$7.8).
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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #826
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Hong Kong - CITIC Pacific's 2004 Net Profit Nearly Triples
15 March 2005

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--China-backed conglomerate CITIC Pacific Ltd. (0267.HK) said Tuesday its net profit for 2004 nearly tripled, as its aviation division rebounded from the SARS crisis, and its power generation and specialty steel operations met strong demand.

Net profit in the year ended Dec. 31 was HK$3.58 billion, up from HK$1.30 billion in 2003 and above the HK$2.85 billion average net profit forecast by 12 analysts in a Thomson Financial survey.

'Our company not only made a significant gain in terms of profit growth in 2004, but also made progress in implementing our long-term plan to expand our growing investment in the key sectors of the Chinese economy in which we have particular skills,' Chairman Larry Yung said.

Earnings per share went up to HK$1.63 from 59 HK cents.

The company proposed a final dividend of 80 HK cents, up from 70 HK cents the previous year.

Most of the gains were attributable to CITIC Pacific's 25% stake in Hong Kong's de facto flag carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK), which last week reported a more than threefold increase in its full-year net profit on record cargo and passenger traffic.

Cathay's earnings were buoyed by strong passenger and cargo growth as well as a lower comparison base in 2003, when the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak depressed travel and tourism.

Apart from Cathay, CITIC owns about 29% of unlisted Dragonair Airlines Ltd.



CITIC Pac H2 net beats forecast, outlook positive
By Alison Leung

HONG KONG, March 15 (Reuters) - Beijing-backed conglomerate CITIC Pacific Co. Ltd. (0267.HK) posted a better-than-expected 151 percent jump in second-half earnings on booming travel and metals demand, and forecast profits to rise by 10 percent this year.

The outlook for the company, which has a 26-percent stake in Cathay Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) as well as property, steel and power plant businesses is positive despite rising oil and iron ore prices, said Chairman Larry Yung

"We are optimistic about our profit this year," he told reporters at a results briefing. "The profit should rise by 10 percent from 2004."

CITIC Pacific, which plans to team up with U.S. retail king Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N) to open hundreds of stores in China in the next few years, proposed a final dividend of 80 Hong Kong cents per share versus 70 cents a year earlier.

It posted a net profit of HK$2.218 billion (US$284 million) for the six months ended Dec. 31 against HK$882 million a year earlier, based on Reuters calculations of full-year results.

The profit was above a consensus forecast of HK$1.49 billion.

CITIC Pacific said its full-year 2004 net profit surged 175 percent to HK$3.58 billion from HK$1.3 billion the previous year. It included a HK$181 million gain on a property revaluation.

"The discrepancy is mainly due to better-than-expected performance in steel and power and some writebacks," said K.Y. Ng, an analyst at Nomura International.

The company also plans to spend up to 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) in capital expenditure in the next 2-3 years on property, steel and power plant projects, similar to the amount it planned last year.

Shares in CITIC Pacific fell 1.08 percent to close at HK$22.95 after the results were announced. They have risen about 12 percent in the past two months.

"There is some profit-taking after the results, since the stock was up in the past few days on the back of optimism about its results," said Louis Wong, research director at Phillip Securities.

Contributions from the aviation sector - CITIC also has a 28.5 percent stake in Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd - more than trebled in 2004 to HK$1.4 billion from HK$421 million as Hong Kong's aviation industry recovered strongly after the city's tourism industry ground to a halt amid an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

"Higher oil prices remain a concern in the aviation sector, but the management of all our airline associates have demonstrable success in reducing overall unit costs," Yung said.

Its property division made a profit of HK$608 million in 2004, up from HK$508 million in 2003, on China's property boom and as the Hong Kong market continued to recover.

CITIC Pacific also recorded strong earnings in its power sector on acquisitions and China's hunger for electricity to keep its robust economy humming.

Its attributable generating capacity reached 2,916 megawatts and the capacity will rise to 5,083 megawatts when construction of its new plants is completed by 2007.

The sector contributed a profit of HK$439 million to the company last year, nearly double the HK$229 million in 2003.

Its steel manufacturing business made a profit of HK$438 million, up from HK$178 million the previous year.

CITIC Pacific said its newly announced acquisition of a 35-percent stake in a Wal-Mart hypermarket joint venture from its 29 percent shareholder CITIC Group will help the development of its marketing and distribution business. It also will bring synergies to its property development business, it added.

(US$=HK$7.8)
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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #827
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Hong Kong's Dragonair to spread its wings down under
14 March 2005
The Gold Coast Bulletin

HONG Kong's Dragonair plans to start flights to Australia, the company said.

Dragon Airlines - Hong Kong's second largest carrier - plans to expand its service to China, start flights to Australia and South Korea and launch a cargo service to the US in the coming months, chief financial officer Francis Wai said.

Mr Wai said China's robust economic growth warranted the increase in the carrier's air services.

"Mainland China is our core market and will continue to be so," said Mr Wai.

Founded in 1985, the airline flies to 30 destinations in Asia as well as operating cargo services to Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Southeast Asia and China.

Dragonair posted record passenger and cargo volume in 2004.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:35 PM   #828
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Hong Kong to maintain air services' edge


Jan. / Feb. 2005 Edition


Hon. Dr Victor Fung, GBS, chairman of AAHK (left) and Cliff K. Sun, chairman of the Hong Kong Exporters' Association. Dr. Fung was guest of honour at the HKEA's annual luncheon last December.

The core industries of Hong Kong's economy all share one critical success factor--the support of strong civil aviation, according to the Hon. Dr Victor Fung, GBS, chairman of the Airport Authority (AA) of Hong Kong. But the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) faces new competition from other airport hubs in the region and from emerging airports on the Chinese Mainland, Dr. Fung told members of the Hong Kong Exporters' Association at the association's annual Christmas lunch in December.

"The competition has never been so intense," Dr Fung said. "The new airports and airport terminals on the Chinese Mainland are excellent and will continue to show rapid progress. But, until now, Hong Kong's airport, as well as its shipping and logistics industries, still enjoy a significant edge when it comes to convenience and quality of service."
He said: "Hong Kong's economy is heavily driven by our four core industries: logistics, financial services, producer services and tourism. The four industries all share one critical success factor ?the support of strong civil aviation."

In the first nine months of 2004, the value of the air cargo shipment increased by more than 27% over the same period last year as compared with the 19% increase in Hong Kong's total external trade.

"This excellent growth has not been one-off. Indeed, the importance of air cargo as the preferred mode of transport is reflected in its continued growth. In terms of external trade value, goods moved through air have increased from 20% ten years ago to over 30% last year," he said.

Dr Fung cited a recent study by research consultant GHK that showed that the factors affecting the competitiveness of an airport are frequency of flights, efficiency of customs clearance, connectivity, facilities, operational efficiency, services and cost.

"With extensive air services and a market-driven freight market, the total through costs of air freight using HKIA are comparable with mainland airports, but with a much higher level of service delivery," he said, adding that HKIA provides a total solution that encompasses the factors of time, reliability, security and cost.

On airport charges and their role in enhancing the AA's financial performance, Dr Fung said, "The AA will likely be able to achieve our financial targets without substantial increases in airport charges, thanks to rapid traffic growth projected in the next few years."

"The AA will achieve a reasonable rate of return through robust traffic growth, cost control and an increase in non-aeronautical revenues," he added.

Dr Fung said exporters played a large role in making 2004 another record setting year for HKIA. In 2004, total cargo throughput at the airport is expected to have exceeded three million tonnes, a 14% increase over last year. The share of air cargo as a portion of total external trade has increased from 20% to 30% in the last decade.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #829
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Air China eyes Cathay, Dragonair buyout - report

HONG KONG, March 16 (Reuters) - Flag carrier Air China Ltd. may take over Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. as part of a consolidation of Hong Kong's two main airlines in a deal which would create the world's largest airline, a Hong Kong newspaper said on Wednesday.

The South China Morning Post said British-linked Swire Pacific Ltd., one of Hong Kong's oldest trading houses, was in advanced negotiations that would see Cathay take over rival Dragonair before being subsumed itself into the Air China group, creating an aviation powerhouse.

Shares in Cathay jumped 4.20 percent to HK$14.90, bucking a 0.45 percent decline in the leading Hang Seng Index . Swire, which holds about 46 percent in Cathay, added 1.15 percent at HK$65.75.

A senior Air China executive said on Wednesday he had not heard of the tie-up. "I've not heard of this," the executive said.

On Monday, Air China Chairman Li Jiaxing told Reuters in an interview that the carrier had no current overseas acquisition plans.

"We want to develop the Chinese domestic market first," Li said. "If in the future situations present themselves to acquire airlines in the international arena, we don't rule anything out. But we have no such plans at the moment."

Dragonair and Cathay Pacific spokesmen also declined to comment. Swire said it will issue a statement later in the day in response to the report.

Citing sources in the companies, the newspaper said Swire may accept Air China shares in return for its 45.73-percent stake in Cathay, a move that would make Swire the single largest shareholder in the mainland carrier and place its executives at the core of the new group's operations.

But some industry observers were sceptical.

"I am dubious if the Chinese government will allow Swire to become the major shareholder of its flagship carrier," said an analyst at a European-based brokerage house.

The paper quoted a senior executive at Swire as saying that Cathay's 10 percent investment in Air China in November was the first step in cementing a relationship.

Air China was seen as a stepping stone for Cathay to crack the huge China market, which the Hong Kong carrier has been unable to tap into for many years.

A consolidation of Cathay and Dragonair has long been speculated upon. In recent years the two have abandoned their practice of not competing directly with each other on routes.

Sources suggested that a deal could be announced within two weeks, the newspaper said.

The Hong Kong Economic Times reported Cathay was also in talks with China-focused conglomerate CITIC Pacific , which holds 26 percent of Cathay, and Dragonair's main stakeholder China National Aviation Corp. .

CNAC's shares climbed 6.17 percent to HK$1.72 while CITIC Pacific rose 1 percent to HK$23.20.

A consolidation of the three carriers would create the world's largest airline by market value, which could feed an international customer base into Greater China's most comprehensive route network, the Post added.

(US$=HK$7.8)

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Shanghai)
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Old March 16th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #830
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Airline merger creates flying fortress
Cross-shareholding agreement between Cathay Pacific and Air China expected to raise concerns over competition

Joseph Lo and Russell Barling
16 March 2005
South China Morning Post

A tie-up between Cathay Pacific Airways and Air China will create one of the world's most dominant and dynamic airline groups, but is also bound to raise competition concerns.

The deal promises to marry Swire Group's western management practices with the world's fastest-growing tourism and trade market. It will also see Cathay take over Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, effectively giving control of the three most heavily travelled air routes in China - between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing - to a single group.

Swire will gain a greater presence in the mainland, and Air China access to a talented management pool and strong international sales team.

"When they come together, it will be Fortress Cathay," aviation analyst Jim Eckes said. "Swire brings top-level management skills and the three airlines would create a cargo powerhouse.

"[Air China and Cathay] would greatly reduce their overhead costs and get a jump on the low-cost carriers in the mainland market."

According to a senior Swire official, the talks over a cross-shareholding structure between Air China and Cathay began in the middle of last year, when the mainland carrier set a date for its December listing in Hong Kong last year.

He was coy on when the deal might be completed, but another executive said Cathay had an announcement scheduled for the end of the month that he thought would be a "follow-up on [Cathay's] 10 per cent acquisition in Air China [last year]".

Ultimately, the Swire official said, approval had to be sought from the General Administration for Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and the State Council.

"It will take time, even after the terms are agreed upon, for the deal to filter through each of these bodies for stamping their approval," he said, declining to say if applications had been submitted for approval.

However, one banker said he believed all parts of the deal had been agreed, including the announcement date.

"You don't invest more than US$300 million for a 10 per cent stake in Air China without knowing the end-game," he said.

The Swire executive, who described the deal as being driven by Cathay's need to "find a way to become seriously integrated into the mainland aviation market", said he did not know the final shareholding structure between Swire, Cathay, China National Aviation Co (CNAC) - the biggest shareholder in Dragonair - and Air China.

The banker said a rough calculation based on the airlines' estimated market values would put Swire's stake in the enlarged Air China at 32 per cent; the parent of CNAC, the China National Aviation Holding's (CNAH) stake at 30 per cent; Citic Pacific's at 17 per cent and the rest a public float.

Despite the enlarged group's obvious potential to control some of the mainland's most lucrative routes, a government official said it would be unlikely to try to reduce its dominance as long as Dragonair and Cathay's principal place of business remained in Hong Kong.

"What [the Economic Services Bureau] can't do is take rights away," the official said. "They can't ask Dragonair and Cathay to give up some rights just because they are brought under one ownership.

"But what they can do is go out and acquire more rights for new carriers and then give priority in any future awards to enhancing competition."

The three airlines presently control 88 per cent of flights on the Hong Kong-Beijing route.

For Cathay, the Swire executive said, the challenge had always been to find a way to fully participate in the mainland aviation market, especially capturing domestic demand, the fastest-growing sector.

The carrier's earlier drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful discussions with China Eastern Airlines about jointly creating such an opportunity stood as testament to that ambition.

When Cathay announced late last year that it would buy a 10 per cent stake in Air China, many in the industry were shocked because the Beijing-based carrier had been for some time courted by the main partners in Star Alliance - Lufthansa and United Airlines.

Indeed, Shanghai-based China Eastern had been thought of by most executives in the industry as the obvious long-term partner.

"Air China wasn't in the picture for us because it was not a strong player in the mainland domestic market - it was seen as a mainland carrier with international ambitions," the Swire executive said. "Plus, Shanghai had the allure of being a very complementary business hub for Hong Kong."

But he said Swire's thinking began to change when Beijing led the industry into consolidation in 2001. During the consolidation, Air China merged with China Southwest and CNAC. They were later joined by Shandong Airlines.

Meanwhile, China Eastern took China Northwest and Yunnan Airlines, two deeply indebted carriers.

"All of a sudden, Air China emerged as a very strong player in China aviation, both in its balance sheet and the size of its domestic network," the Swire executive said.

He said that along with Air China's rising allure, Swire found it now had "strong strategic cross-relations" with Citic and CNAH.

Citic owns 25 per cent of Air China's cargo spin-off - Air China Cargo - along with 25.74 per cent of Cathay and 28.5 per cent of Dragonair. It is thought that Air China's stake in Dragonair makes the deal possible without any further cash having to change hands.

"Air China wants a bigger stake in the combined entity," said the banker, "[not] more money."

From the Cathay side, the deal will give Hong Kong's No1 airline an exposure to the Beijing Olympics it would not otherwise enjoy.

"Dragonair ties us all together," the executive said. "But at the end of the day, Dragonair is not critical to Cathay or Air China, it is down the value chain. The critical aspect will be how the Cathay-Air China integration is done."

He said Cathay's desire to integrate into the China market and its successful management style would also help Air China become a bigger player globally.

"Over the past two years, the CAAC has opened up the mainland market for international airlines so quickly. Last year, it negotiated a deal with the United States that opens up 249 flights per week across the Pacific, and Europe is likely to push for the same."

But mainland carriers, which lack the professional image to compete in world-class commercial centres such as London and New York, struggle to fully utilise their reciprocal rights "because they just can't compete with the US and European airlines", the executive said.

Swire believes its management experience will help Air China.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 06:05 PM   #831
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Old March 16th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #832
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Qantas Adds Fourth Sydney-London Flight via Hong Kong

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia's biggest airline, added a fourth weekly service flight from Sydney to London with a stopover in Hong Kong.

The extra flight will begin Nov. 13 and takes the number of Qantas flights between Australia and the U.K. to 28 a week, Executive General Manager John Borghetti said in a statement faxed to Bloomberg News.

Sydney-based Qantas has approval to fly a further three flights to the U.K. through Hong Kong from April 2006, which would allow for daily services on the route, the company said.

Qantas shares rose 1 cent to A$3.59 at the 4 p.m. market close in Sydney.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #833
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Thursday March 17, 4:07 AM
Chinese flag-carrier Air China says no plan to take stake in Cathay Pacific

AP - Mainland Chinese flag carrier Air China Ltd. on Thursday denied reports it plans to merge with Hong Kong's biggest airline, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

The statement, issued on behalf of Air China by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, followed media reports that said Air China and Cathay Pacific's controlling shareholder, Swire Pacific, were negotiating a deal under which the Hong Kong carrier would buy out its local rival, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd., before being subsumed into the Air China group.

"Air China has no intention to acquire a controlling equity in Cathay Pacific," the statement by Air China's Hong Kong unit said.

On Wednesday, Swire Pacific also issued a statement denying the reports and saying that it intends to remain Cathay's principal shareholder "for the long term."

However, the Air China statement did acknowledge that the two airlines are discussing "closer cooperation in various business and operational areas." It noted that Air China and Cathay Pacific agreed in October to develop a long-term strategic relationship.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #834
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Cathay Pacific
16 March 2005
Financial Times (FT.Com)

The combination of Air China, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair has always been something of an unholy trinity. Cathay, Hong Kong's de facto flag carrier, owns 18 per cent of Dragonair, the regional airline which is its only local competitor. It also has a 10 per cent stake in Air China, the mainland's flag carrier - a complete reversal of the 1996 aviation deals designed to give China a bigger slice of the Hong Kong market.

The market has long anticipated rationalisation, and local reports suggest consolidation of Cathay and Dragonair may now be on the cards. This would be relatively straightforward, giving Cathay a bigger bite of the mainland market - which it has only recently been allowed to re-enter on a small scale. That boosts prospects for growth, now undermined by rising fuel bills. Competition fears in Hong Kong could be addressed by offering licences to new low-cost carriers.

An endgame, that would see Cathay itself subsumed by Air China, continues to look unlikely, however - and has been vigorously denied by all parties. Any deal would have to reward Swire Pacific, a colonial-era conglomerate that owns 46 per cent of Cathay and 8 per cent of Dragonair. A three-way merger would certainly create a stronger airline than Cathay on its own. But on current numbers, Swire's Cathay stake is worth nearly as much as all of recently-listed Air China. Negotiating air agreements would also be tricky for a cross-border airline. Beijing would surely wish to use Cathay's expertise to turn Air China into a fitting, international carrier by 2008. But that may remain just an Olympic dream.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #835
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Cathay Makes Progress in Talks To Expand Operations in China
By Bruce Stanley and Kate Linebaugh
17 March 2005
The Asian Wall Street Journal

HONG KONG -- Cathay Pacific Airways and its principal shareholder Swire Pacific Ltd. said they are making progress in talks aimed at cooperating more closely with Chinese flag carrier Air China and Hong Kong's Dragonair to expand business in China's fast-growing aviation market.

Shares of Cathay, one of Asia's biggest and most profitable airlines, jumped almost 5% yesterday on a local newspaper report that it was nearing a decision on a three-way merger with Air China and regional carrier Dragonair. Cathay and Swire denied that a deal on this scale was in the works, but they left open the possibility that all three airlines might take large equity stakes in one another in the future.

The companies already have some cross-shareholdings, and people familiar with their operations say a bigger equity swap has been discussed often in the past.

Founded in Hong Kong in 1946, Cathay was one of the first airlines to operate commercial flights into China -- but lost its rights years ago and lately has been frustrated by its inability to make serious inroads back into the booming mainland market. Dragonair has 56 flights a week from Hong Kong to Beijing, versus 14 a week for Cathay.

A deal with Air China and Dragonair would give it the greater access it covets, while at the same making it a mentor of sorts for Air China, which would benefit from Cathay's management experience. Cathay bought a 10% stake in Air China when the Beijing-based airline listed its shares in December, but former Cathay executives said they see ample scope for an increased stake or cross-holding of shares.

"Ten percent is a nice little relationship, but it doesn't make you blood brothers," said Kevin O'Connor, an analyst at investment bank CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.

Cathay's stock jumped 4.9% to close at HK$15 (US$1.92) on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, while shares in Air China rose 3.5% to HK$2.92. Swire, a diversified group that owns 45.7% of Cathay, saw its shares climb 2.7% to HK$66.75, and shares in Chinese conglomerate Citic Pacific Ltd., which owns part of both Cathay and Dragonair, rose 2% to HK$23.40.

Investors' response to the possibility endorsed the view of many analysts that a combination of the three carriers would help each one.

"The benefits there are enormous. If you look at the network that Dragonair has out of Hong Kong and link that with Air China's domestic network and combine that with Cathay's international operations, then you've got an unbeatable combination," said Richard Stirland, a former director of corporate development at Cathay. He works now as an adviser to the company's chairman, David Turnbull.

Despite the denials from Swire and Cathay that a consolidation was under discussion, another former Cathay executive said he expects the three airlines to swap large equity stakes, possibly as soon as the end of the month. He said he believes the only remaining hurdle to a sweeping deal is a perception among some Chinese government officials that Cathay might still be too foreign to be acceptable as a major shareholder of Air China.

"It's actually very, very close to being done," he said.

After the airlines make the necessary changes in ownership, this former executive said Cathay would hold at least 20% in Air China, which would in turn have a stake of at least 30% in Cathay. He said Cathay would also completely take over Dragonair, in which it now has a share of 17.8%.

Swire, which controls Cathay, said it remains committed to being Cathay's principal shareholder "for the long term." It also said it doesn't intend to become the principal shareholder of Air China.

Swire is unlikely to give up control of Cathay, according to another person familiar with the talks between Cathay, Air China and Dragonair. This person said the talks haven't considered a change in control of either Air China or Cathay, but aim instead at deepening cooperation between them by transferring technology, aligning routes and forming closer strategic alliances.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 07:30 PM   #836
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Hong Kong airport authority to take stake in China's Hangzhou airport
17 March 2005

BEIJING (AFX) - Hong Kong's airport authority is finalizing a deal to take about a 30 pct stake in the mainland's 10th largest airport -- Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport -- for two bln yuan, a Xiaoshan airport official said.

'We've already signed a framework contract in January, and are working over some technical details,' the official, who asked not to be named, told XFN-Asia.

'The final agreement will be signed as early as mid April,' he added.

Xiaoshan airport, in Hangzhou in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, began operations in mid-2000. The airport has since doubled traffic due to robust foreign trade in the Yangtze river delta region.

Passenger traffic totaled 6.34 mln last year, up sharply from 2.98 mln in 2001, with freight volume rising to 160,000 tons from 87,000 tons.

The airport now operates some 120 air routes, including eight international routes mainly to neighboring counties. It has attracted 20 domestic and foreign carriers, including China Eastern, China Southern, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Air and All Nippon Airways.

'But that is not enough. We will attract more airlines and open more international routes, especially to the US and Europe,' the official said.

The airport is now courting other foreign carriers including UPS and FedEx, in hopes of securing lucrative trans-Pacific cargo flights to North America.

In a move to revamp the mainland's airport sector, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) transferred control of most of the country's airports to local governments last July.

CAAC director general Yang Yuanyuan and other senior industry officials have encouraged foreign investment in the industry to help Chinese airport operators improve corporate governance amidst an increasingly competitive market environment.

But foreign investment in China's airports remains limited. But industry analysts expect overseas capital to pour in over the years as China experiences a boom in air traffic.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 07:00 AM   #837
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Logistics industry has not been given a leg to stand on
18 March 2005
South China Morning Post

If logistics is indeed one of the four pillars upon which Hong Kong's prosperity is built, our economic platform must be badly tilted.

The financial secretary's budget jazzed up the tourism pillar for the next year with a $500 million plinth. It even dedicated $500 million to small and medium-sized enterprises. The logistics sector, however, was thrown a $10 million bone.

According to Alan Lee Yiu-kwong, the head of the Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association, 21 per cent of our gross domestic product is directly and indirectly generated by the port.

"About 600,000 people, or 12 per cent of our workforce, are directly or indirectly employed by the port," Mr Lee told delegates at TOC 2005, an influential maritime conference held in Hong Kong this week.

Those figures do not include people employed in the aviation sector.

The $10 million is a pittance and it is one, apparently, that will never leave government house this year. The money was given to two offshoots of the Hong Kong Logistics Council for "marketing" initiatives.

As usual, our government, despite its "commitment to transparency", was less than forthcoming about what the money will be spent on.

"Because they are important institutions, the marketing strategy will be developed in consultation with the councils," a spokesperson for the Economic Development and Labour Bureau said yesterday.

It is not well known (which really defeats the purpose of a marketing exercise) but every year, the government funds a 20-strong roadshow to Europe and the United States to promote Hong Kong's logistics prowess.

Traditionally, the continental leg takes in the commercial heartlands of central and western Europe. This year, the delegation plans to expand coverage to Spain, Italy and the south of France.

According to Cathay Pacific Airways' ticketing office, the off-the-rack cost for tickets to fly a delegation of that size (business class, of course) return from Hong Kong to London and Hong Kong to New York would be $2,062,400. That does not include hotel, food or transport costs between cities while on those continents.

A good customer like the government would, of course, get a discount on air fares. But throw in a couple of bottles of Verve Cliquot with all that lobster and you can kiss the $10 million goodbye.

In the autumn of 2002, one of the first responsibilities of the newly created M-Logs project team under the council was to conduct a study to find the best way to sell Hong Kong to the international trade community.

The government shelled out at least $300,000 for the study, which gave the council a number of forward-looking strategies. After conducting a workshop, it offered key public perceptions of our logistics industry - such as its reliability, value for money, and speed and efficiency - that should be emphasised when selling Hong Kong abroad.

It also suggested strategies for tackling the perceived negatives such as the high cost of doing business in the city.

In short, the report's findings were comprehensive, strategic and articulate.

Then why, you may ask, have the suggestions from this report never been implemented or made available to the public: you certainly paid for it.

The answer is simple. The report had the temerity to suggest that senior officials from the economic development bureau might not be best qualified to sell Hong Kong.

"Putting on one side the question of how the broad spectrum of responsibilities of the Economic Services portfolio might create occasional conflicts of interest with the secretary's role as 'logistics ambassador', workshop participants raised questions about the appropriateness of a government official [no matter how capable and senior] acting as primary spokesperson for so profoundly a private-sector cluster as Hong Kong's logistics cluster," it said.

Needless to say, the report's commissioners threw it straight in the bin. If they hadn't, our logistics industry might not have been in need of so much more than $10 million to address its shortcomings this time round.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #838
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March 17, 2005
Government Press Release
Record flight movements expected for Easter

A record 790 flight movements are expected at the airport on Good Friday, 8% up on the current daily rate of 730.

From March 23 to April 5, 107 additional scheduled and ad-hoc charter flights, a total of 214 movements, will be run by 15 airlines to 10 destinations on the Mainland, 10 in Northeast Asia and eight in Southeast Asia.

Beijing is the most popular destination, followed by Seoul, Shanghai and Osaka.

To cope, runway capacity will rise from 50 to 52 movements per hour, and sufficient manpower will be deployed to ensure smooth air traffic operations.

The previous record of 746 movements in a single day occurred on February 9, Lunar New Year's Day.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #839
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By jzs @ HKADB :

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Old March 18th, 2005, 09:45 AM   #840
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Air China, Cathay, others to extend HK fuel surcharges

HONG KONG, March 18 (Reuters) - State-owned Air China , Hong Kong's main carrier Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) and its smaller rival Dragonair have been allowed to extend fuel surcharges on passenger tickets amid high oil prices.

The trio were among nine airlines, including China Eastern (0670.HK) and China Southern (1055.HK), which were granted permission by the city's Civil Aviation Department to extend fuel surcharges, department spokeswoman Stella Tse said on Friday.

Passengers flying with those carriers will have to pay an additional US$3.90-US$17 per trip until May 31.

Jet fuel accounts for a large proportion of airline costs. Cathay Pacific, for example, saw fuel costs representing 23.9 percent of its 2004 total operating costs, up from 19.8 percent in 2003.
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