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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:34 PM   #1081
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Budget airline back in running for Hong Kong slot

HONG KONG, July 11 (AFP) - Malaysian budget airline Air Asia has restarted stalled talks with Hong Kong's international airport over landing rights in the Chinese territory, a company spokesman said Monday.

Negotiations last year ended in acrimony with the airport refusing to budge on its high landing charges.

But an airline spokesman said the two sides had begun "preliminary exploratory talks".

"Hong Kong is warming to Air Asia," said the company spokesman without elaborating on what was being discussed or at what level.

The delegation of Air Asia chiefs were back at the negotiation table in Hong Kong over the weekend and the talks follow criticism from the travel industry over a lack of low-cost options at Hong Kong's hub.

"They are talking to us and service providers," an airport source was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post.

"We are talking to a number of carriers."

Air Asia is the most successful of the handful of budget carriers to have appeared in the region.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, it cuts costs by landing at secondary airports that charge lower landing fees and cuts out some in-flight services.

After last year's talks broke down, Air Asia chief executive Tony Fernandes instead negotiated landing rights in nearby Macau's new airport.

Hong Kong's government-controlled airport authority has been accused of turning its back on cheap airlines in order to boost its earnings ahead of a planned partial privatisation.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #1082
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Old July 13th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #1083
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Malaysia's budget carrier AirAsia confirms talks on possibility of flights to Hong Kong
12 July 2005

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - AirAsia, Southeast Asia's leading budget carrier, said Tuesday it has resumed talks with Hong Kong on launching flights there, saying the territory's officials seem open to the possibility.

"Yes, some of our officials have been there for talks," a spokeswoman for the Malaysian-based airline said on condition of anonymity.

Her comments confirm a report in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper Monday that AirAsia and Hong Kong Airport Authority officials have resumed negotiations on the issue, about a year after they ended abruptly.

Neither side explained why the talks broke down, but there has been speculation that the high costs of using Hong Kong's airport were the main factor.

AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said in an e-mail to Dow Jones Newswires that Hong Kong appeared more open to the idea of the airline flying there.

"We do look at all airports and Hong Kong is now warming up to us," Fernandes said.

However, Fernandes couldn't say where talks were leading. "Basically, it's too early to speculate on this," he said.

Some of AirAsia's rivals, such as Qantas Airways Ltd.'s 49 percent-owned Jetstar Asia associate, already fly to Hong Kong.

AirAsia, which has the largest fleet size of Southeast Asia's low-cost airlines, has flights daily to Macau from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Macau is 45 minutes from Hong Kong by ferry.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #1084
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Thursday July 14, 1:17 PM
HK Dragonair Passenger Traffic Up 5.2% On Year In June

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Hong Kong's Dragon Airlines Ltd. said Thursday it continued to have a healthy growth in passenger and cargo numbers in June on strong demand and increased flight frequencies.

Passenger numbers in that month rose 5.2% on year to 406,891, while freight volume rose 20.7% on year to 31,657 tons.

Month-on-month there was a slight decline in passenger numbers but this was because of seasonal factors, said Dragonair.

"Among the passenger routes that performed well were Taipei, driven by strong demand from Taiwan and Hong Kong and mainland cities, and Tokyo, which proved popular with both groups," said Dragonair Chief Executive Stanley Hui in a statement.

Cargo saw a "great return to form" following the Golden Week holiday in May when factories closed, said Hui.

But Hui said higher oil prices remain a "great" concern.

Dragonair's major shareholders are China National Aviation Co. (1110.HK), which has 43.29%, CITIC Pacific Ltd. (0267.HK), with 29.35%, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK), with 17.79%, and Swire Pacific Ltd. (0019.HK), which holds 7.71%.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:18 PM   #1085
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I think Cathay Pacific should be allowed to fly to China. Why is it still restricted? Are the mainland Chinese fearful of competition or is it political - because Cathay is part of the British Swire Group??
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #1086
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Wednesday July 13, 9:05 PM
Indian arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of smuggling the drug ketamine

AP - An Indian man was arrested at Hong Kong's airport after customs officers found 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of the party drug ketamine hidden in thermos bottles he was carrying, the government said Wednesday.

The 56-year-old suspect, who was not identified, will be charged with trafficking dangerous drugs, the government said in a statement.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million (US$641,000).

The seized drugs were worth an estimated HK$720,000 (US$92,300; €76,020), the government said. The suspect arrived in Hong Kong from India via Singapore and was arrested Tuesday.

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that can cause hallucinations and render the user unable to move.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #1087
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Cathay gave up its rights to China to allow Dragonair to fly to many Chinese cities. Now, Cathay wants to return, and needs to negotiate traffic rights with Chinese aviation authorities. So far they've successfully gotten the Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen routes.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:25 PM   #1088
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By da83 from HKADB :









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Old July 18th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #1089
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HK Airport sets up air cargo centre in Suzhou
14 July 2005

Hong Kong International Airport has teamed up with Suzhou to set up a cargo handling and logistics centre. The cargo logistics centre, being the first one set up by the Hong Kong International Airport in eastern China, will be situated at the Suzhou Industrial Park Tax Free Region. It is one of the prime air cargo logistic centres that manage to provide air cargo collection, handling and dispatching services in the name of Hong Kong International Airport in Suzhou.

The Suzhou logistics park allows the Hong Kong International Airport to provide more diversified service in China at more competitive costs. The Suzhou centre will even be compatible with the Shanghai Pudong International Airport which has seen ever increasing cargo handling capacity.

According to statistics, there are over 2,000 foreign enterprises operating at the Suzhou Industrial Zone. The Suzhou Industrial Zone has achieved export value of US$28.1 billion in 2004, and has been growing at an annual rate of 40% each year.

Wen Wei Po
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Old July 20th, 2005, 01:19 AM   #1090
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Lack of training led to injuries on Dragonair flight
Simon Parry
16 July 2005
South China Morning Post

A Hong Kong-bound Dragonair flight ran into severe turbulence that injured 12 cabin crew - two of them seriously - partly because the pilot and co-pilot did not know how to use the cockpit weather radar properly, accident investigators have concluded.

The Airbus A300 with 236 passengers on board was midway through a flight from Kota Kinabalu on July 18, 2003, when it was jolted violently for 30 seconds after flying into the path of a tropical storm west of Manila.

Flight attendants were serving meals at the time and some were thrown against the ceiling of the plane as it dipped and lurched. Two suffered serious injuries and three passengers were slightly injured.

Although the pilots detected the storm clouds ahead and changed direction shortly before the incident and put the fasten-seatbelt sign on, minimising passenger injuries, they had not adjusted the angle of the radar antenna correctly and changed course too late to avoid the worst of the turbulence.

The report released yesterday describes how the cabin crew were "thrown into the air, some hitting their heads against the ceiling panels then crashing to the floor".

Inspectors also found that a button was pushed to erase the cockpit voice recorder after the plane had been parked at Hong Kong, although they did not discover who pressed the erase button.

The report said that Dragonair should "strengthen the training of flight crew on the use of weather radar for weather avoidance" and that flight crew and maintenance staff should be reminded not to wipe cockpit voice recorders.

However, it praised the actions of the chief purser in the aftermath of the turbulence, saying she "demonstrated commendable competence and professionalism", and the injured flight attendants, who it said "continued to function effectively as a team in a challenging situation".

The release of the accident report was delayed by more than a year after the pilots objected strongly to the CAD's draft report, which they say blamed them for failing to avoid the turbulence.

Backed by the Hong Kong Airline Pilots Association and the Dragonair Pilots Association, they appealed for a reworking of the draft report, which was circulated only to parties involved.

There was no immediate reaction to the report last night by the pilots' union or the association. A Dragonair spokesman said: "Action has been taken since the incident that addresses all the recommendations made in the report."
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Old July 20th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #1091
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July 17, 2005
June airport cargo throughput up 12.7%

Cargo throughput at Hong Kong International Airport rose 12.7% in June over the same period last year, reaching 280,000 tonnes, due to strong demand for exports from the US and Europe.

During the month 3.3 million passengers travelled through the airport, up 6.9%, while aircraft movements also surged 10.4%, to 21,265.

In the first six months of this year, passenger throughput was 19.4 million, cargo volume 1.6 million tonnes and aircraft movements at 124,700.

The authority said the figures show encouraging growth in all categories of air traffic, adding a continuous growth trend is expected and new traffic records can hopefully be set by year's end.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 08:30 PM   #1092
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Taiwan's Taichung Airport Needs Lounges for Passengers: Cepd

TAIPEI, July 20 Asia Pulse - The Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) urged Tuesday the early construction of departure lounges for international passengers at the Taichung Airport in central Taiwan.

CEPD officials made the remarks amid reports that Hong Kong Express Airways will inaugurate Taichung-Hong Kong passenger charter flights in August.

The officials said that Hong Kong Express Airways is eyeing the impending opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and the travel needs of businessmen to the Central Taiwan Industrial Park.

This, together with the original Taichung-Japan charter flights, will lead to a gradual increase in the number of international passenger flights, they said.

But the officials noted that Taichung Airport has no departure lounges exclusively for international passengers and that it is also short of facilities such as X-ray machines.

For this reason, the CEPD will meet at the end of this month to screen a departure lounge construction plan proposed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), the officials said.

To meet the needs of international air passengers, they suggested that the CAA borrow X-ray machines from other airports for Taichung Airport for the time being.

They will also ask the CAA to speed up construction of the departure lounges so that they can be completed by the end of the year.

(CNA)
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:53 AM   #1093
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Cathay gave up its rights to China to allow Dragonair to fly to many Chinese cities. Now, Cathay wants to return, and needs to negotiate traffic rights with Chinese aviation authorities. So far they've successfully gotten the Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen routes.
Have Cathay flights actually started to Shanghai?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:58 AM   #1094
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Cathay has the regulatory approval to fly to 3 Chinese cities but needs to negotiate when to begin the services. So far the Shanghai flights are cargo only but passenger services will begin in 2006.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 01:34 AM   #1095
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^ Any idea when in 2006? Beginning or end?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 09:36 PM   #1096
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Photos by "itower" from HKADB :

































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Old July 24th, 2005, 01:06 AM   #1097
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HK keen to land AirAsia, says airline
Toh Han Shih
23 July 2005
South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong Airport Authority met with Malaysian budget airline AirAsia yesterday and was keen to grant the low-cost carrier landing rights, according to chief executive Tony Fernandes.

Airport Authority officials met Mr Fernandes at Hong Kong Airport when he arrived yesterday and were scheduled to hold further talks with him at the Grand Hyatt hotel later in the day, he said.

"Now the talks are getting more exciting. This is the first time I see the Hong Kong Airport Authority beginning to understand the needs of low-cost carriers. [It] is making a big effort to come and get AirAsia," said Mr Fernandes, who warned, however, that a deal would not be concluded overnight.

AirAsia was also in talks to secure landing rights in a few south China cities, he added.

In contrast to Mr Fernandes' enthusiastic account of yesterday's discussions, however, the authority sought to downplay the impact of the meetings between the two.

"We welcome all kinds of carriers, including low-cost carriers. They are all important business partners for us. We are constantly talking to various low-cost carriers," a spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post. She declined to comment specifically on AirAsia.

Previous talks between the two parties have been inconclusive and negotiations ended in acrimony in May last year. Instead, AirAsia obtained landing rights in Macau.

Commenting at the time, Mr Fernandes said the authority "was not willing to adjust. They apparently didn't feel the need to go out and get business."

Although talks are now back on, a key hurdle against AirAsia taking up landing rights in Hong Kong is the high user fees charged, said Mr Fernandes, adding that cost will be a key part of his agenda in talks with the authority.

The Airport Authority spokeswoman declined to state whether the airport would readjust its user fees, but pointed out that the airport maintained "user pay" and "value for money" principles in determining charges.

However, Mr Fernandes said airports generally were now reviewing fees, arguing that if it brought in more passengers "why not have three-star hotels along with five-star hotels"? The Hong Kong airport had to deal with different charges for different customers, he added.

There are now seven budget carriers operating at Hong Kong airport, including Valuair and Jetstar Asia. However, budget carriers such as Valuair pay full charges at Hong Kong airport, Mr Fernandes said. "That's why Valuair is in trouble."

"We're not going to go with Valuair as it doesn't fit with our business model. We think Valuair will go with Jetstar Asia. We never made Valuair a binding offer," he added.

Jetstar Asia, the Qantas-owned, Singapore-based budget carrier, is expected to decide soon whether to buy local rival Valuair, which a source said was "weeks away from running out of cash", reported the Financial Times.

AirAsia, meanwhile, has announced a sponsorship deal with English football club Manchester United, which was much better value than Valuair, Mr Fernandes said.

He said AirAsia would pay the club a fee of no more than £2 million ($27.2 million) for the deal.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #1098
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Dragonair offers 'bonuses' to beat staff shortages
Simon Parry
24 July 2005
South China Morning Post

Dragonair flight attendants are being given special "bonuses" of around $100 to $250 a time for working on low-staffed flights or doing back-to-back duties as the airline struggles to cope with a crew shortage.

The special payments - criticised as "pathetic and insulting" by one disgruntled flight attendant with the Hong Kong airline - were arranged after more than 100 flight attendants phoned in sick on July 1 and 2 in an unofficial protest against their workload.

Dragonair has also told staff it will give free meal coupons to all crew who fly on low-staffed flights and will pay the Airport Express fare and taxi fee home for crew who agree to fly back-to-back additional duties.

The Sunday Morning Post revealed a fortnight ago how Dragonair had cut back on inflight services such as pre-meal drinks, handing out wet towels and giving second servings of wine, coffee or tea on some flights to ease the workload for cabin crew.

Dragonair admits it is short of cabin crew as it rapidly expands its routes and struggles with an unusually high level of resignations but says the situation should ease when 60 recruits join the airline by the end of next month.

Now, after a meeting with the union representing the 1,000 flight attendants days after the "sick-in" protest, management has agreed to a sliding scale of bonus payments for staff flying on planes with less than a full compliment of cabin crew.

Under the formula, the more understaffed a plane is, the greater the extra payment, so if a flight attendant works on a return flight to Shanghai that is two cabin crew down on its normal compliment of 13, he or she will get an extra payment of around $220.

A special allowance of $100 is being given to flight attendants who agree to "carry-on" duties, which means agreeing to take an unscheduled duty on another flight immediately after completing a rostered flight.

A spokesman for the airline said: "Due to a variety of factors, working conditions for our cabin crew have been more demanding in recent months and management, following agreement with the Flight Attendants Association, has made adjustments accordingly.

"These are temporary measures and are expected to be superseded when a significant number of new cabin crew begin working progressively, starting this month."

Dragonair chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung has, meanwhile, sent a memo around to flight attendants appealing for teamwork to get through the staff shortage.

He said the sick-in by staff on July 1 and 2 was "a co-ordinated action by a small number of cabin crew, and a deliberate attempt to cause disruption". "We are pleased to note that the majority of our cabin crew ensured the impact on services was minimal," he said.

However, one of the flight attendants who took part in the sick-in said: "What flight attendants want is properly staffed flights and fair rates of pay for all, including the more recent recruits who are being paid substantially less than their colleagues for doing the same job."
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Old July 24th, 2005, 08:15 PM   #1099
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Old July 24th, 2005, 10:46 PM   #1100
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CR Airways launches direct flight between Hong Kong, Sanya
23 July 2005
Xinhua News Agency

SANYA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong-based CR Airways launched its first scheduled flight between Hong Kong and Sanya, a scenic city in the southernmost province of Hainan, Friday.

Eyeing the fast-growing aviation market in the interior regions, the company has also launched a daily flight between Hong Kong and Hainan's provincial capital Haikou, said Robert Yip, founder and chairman of CR Airways.

It is the 14th overseas airline to operate in Hainan, a tropical island which is drawing a growing number of sightseers from Hong Kong.

CR Airways was founded in 2001 as the third passenger airline in Hong Kong following Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair.
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