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Discussion Starter #941
Jan 15, 2018
HNA's problems mount as airlines delay payments, bank sets up team to handle debt: sources
Excerpt

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Some airlines affiliated with China’s HNA Group Co Ltd are delaying aircraft lease payments to lessors, and Export-Import Bank of China, which is a long-term financer of the group, has formed a team to handle the conglomerate’s liquidity issues, several banking and leasing sources said.

Executives from leasing units of Chinese lenders including Bank of China Ltd (601988.SS), China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd (600016.SS) and Bank of Communications Co Ltd (601328.SS) have held talks with some HNA-linked airlines to recover payments, the sources said.

“Some payments have been delayed by over two months,” said one senior Beijing-based executive at a Chinese lessor. He said HNA airlines had informed the lessor that payments would be made soon as they expected banks to support HNA in coming months.

HNA, an aviation-to-financial services conglomerate, said in a statement to Reuters: “HNA and its subsidiaries are maintaining stable operations, and are in the process of gradually paying each lessor’s fees as planned.”

HNA’s $50 billion worth of deal-making over the past two years, which included investments in Deutsche Bank DBkGn.DE and the Hilton (HLT.N) hotels group, has sparked intense scrutiny of its opaque ownership and use of leverage.

In June, the Chinese government told major banks to review their credit exposure to HNA and a handful of other non-state companies, putting pressure on its finances.

Some of the sources from lessors and banks said HNA’s flagship Hainan Airlines (600221.SS) and smaller ones including Lucky Air and Capital Airlines had missed payments, while Tianjin Airlines was seeking to extend the term for payments due this year.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hna-group-debt/hnas-problems-mount-as-airlines-delay-payments-bank-sets-up-team-to-handle-debt-sources-idUSKBN1F40M5
 

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Discussion Starter #942
CAA rejects China's accusation in M503 dispute
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Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Friday expressed "strong regret" over China's condemnation of Taiwan's move to put extra Lunar New Year cross-strait flights on hold amid a dispute over the controversial M503 route.

In a statement on its official website, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) "condemned" Taiwan's move to delay approval of applications by two China-based airlines to operate extra flights in protest of China's decision to launch a northbound M503 route.

The M503 route and its extension routes were approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and have "no safety concerns," it said.

It also contended that Taiwan's act of "revenge against China" will eventually hurt airlines and people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait -- and the rights of Taiwanese people in particular -- and that "the Taiwanese authority should take full responsibility for all the consequences."

The CAA responded Friday night with a statement titled "If there is no trust and no aviation safety, what's the point of talking about the rights of Taiwanese business people?"

The CAA urged China to start negotiations with Taiwan as soon as possible, in line with an agreement reached by the two sides in 2015.

Beijing was criticized internationally when it first unveiled the M503 southbound route in 2015, and it further angered Taiwan on Jan. 4, 2018 when it unilaterally announced the launch of the M503 northbound route without consulting Taiwan.

The route is only 4.2 nautical miles, or approximately 7.8 km, from the median line of the Taiwan Strait, at its nearest point.

Three Chinese east-west extension routes also introduced on Jan. 4, designated W121, W122 and W123, now overlap with Taiwan's W6, W8 and W2 flight routes serving the outlying islands of Matsu and Kinmen, raising aviation safety concerns.

The CAA said Thursday it has put on hold applications by China Eastern and Xiamen Air to fly a total of 176 additional cross-strait flights during the holiday period from Feb. 15-20, in response to China's launch of the M503 route, which Taiwan considers a threat to aviation safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #945
Feb 1, 2018
Taipei Times Excerpt
Lawmakers rebut criticism over flight cancelations

Emphasizing aviation safety, lawmakers across party lines yesterday countered criticism by two Chinese airlines over the government’s refusal to approve flights along the controversial M503 and three extension air routes unilaterally launched by China last month.

China Eastern Airlines and XiamenAir on Tuesday canceled their requests for 176 additional cross-strait flights over the Lunar New Year holiday.

“To meet the demand of passengers traveling between China and Taiwan during the holiday, we arranged 106 additional flights, but they were rejected by Taiwan’s civil aviation authority,” China Eastern Airlines said in a statement.

“To avoid causing passengers — particularly Taiwanese businesspeople returning home for the holiday — serious and irreparable losses, we are left with no choice but to cancel the additional flights,” it said.

Since direct air links were established in 2003, Taiwan and China have been “as close as one family whose bond is unshaken by storms or rain,” it said, adding that it condemns the unilateral decision by the “Taiwanese side” that is expected to affect 40,000 passengers.

XiamenAir on Tuesday said that it “cannot wait forever for the response from responsible Taiwanese agencies,” and would be forced to pull all 70 additional flights it had arranged for the holiday.

“The Taiwanese side’s disregard of the need for people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to travel is using their rights as bargaining chips,” XiamenAir said, adding that the cancelation of its additional flights would affect about 10,000 passengers.

Taiwan’s refusal to sign off on the additional flights “run counter to public sentiment and seriously hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the Strait,” it said.

“I sympathize with the two airlines for not being able to tell the truth under China’s political system. They could only talk the Chinese Communist Party’s talk,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.

The airlines should put the incident into perspective, as it was China that breached an agreement it signed with Taiwan in 2015 and, in a blatant disregard for aviation safety, launched the four air routes, two of which are close to existing W6 and W8 air routes, Wang said.

“To these kinds of statements that could not tell right from wrong and whose sole function is to serve as a mouthpiece for China, we can only respond with a laugh,” he said.

Citing data compiled by the Mainland Affairs Council, Wang said the number of total additional flights were down by just one compared with last year’s Lunar New Year holiday, after the council took measures to alleviate the impact of not using the M503 route.

There are still plenty of unbooked seats on approved flights, Wang added.

The Chinese airlines’ requests were rejected because they pose risks to aviation safety, which is a consequence of China’s one-sided action, New Power Party caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said, adding that this is what really “hurts the feelings” of people on both sides of the Strait.

Taiwanese agencies should provide the two airlines with incentives to encourage them not to use the disputed air routes — for example by allowing them to add more flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong, one of the most lucrative routes in the Strait, throughout the year, he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #946
Feb 2, 2018
Handling of M503 issue ‘suicidal’: ex-minister
WRONG STRATEGY ? A travel association head said tourists from Southeast Asia spent only half as many days in Taiwan as Chinese and were more likely to only visit the north
Taipei Times Excerpt

Former minister of transportation and communications Chen Chien-yu (陳建宇) yesterday called the government’s handling of a controversy surrounding China’s activation of northbound flight route M503 and three extension routes “suicidal,” saying that the government’s actions so far would only hurt Taiwanese in China.

Chen made the comments before addressing a tourism forum in Taipei hosted by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation think tank and several tourism associations.

Some technical issues should not be resolved in a political manner, he said.

“Similar cases might have occurred in other nations, which we could use as a reference,” Chen said. “We are confronting a country much bigger than us. Rather than handling the situation with might, we should handle it with smart moves.”

“To me personally, it has been shocking to see how the situation has been handled. The government only looked at the front and ignored the back. What the government has done is suicidal and absolutely disappointing,” he said. “It will only hurt Taiwanese living in China.”

Taiwan was able to reach an agreement with China in 2015 about conditions that must be met to activate the northbound M503 route and three extension routes, KMT Chairman Wu Duen-yih (吳敦義) said, asking why the Democratic Progressive Party administration did not follow suit.

The failure to reach a bilateral agreement with China on the four routes has caused two Chinese airlines to cancel requests for 176 additional flights, which would inconvenience Taiwanese working and studying in China when they try to return home for the Lunar New Year holiday, he said.

“Why would this administration rather punish its own people by causing them to spend more time and money to get home instead of communicating with China to minimize the effects of the aviation routes,” Wu said.

He described the “status quo” of cross-strait relations as “one of the two parties has read a text message and chosen not to respond,” which he said needs to change.

While it is necessary to cultivate tourism from Southeast Asia, the government should not give up on Chinese tourists, who have greater purchasing power and normally spend more time traveling around Taiwan than Southeast Asian tourists, Wu said.

Southeast Asian tourists spend an average of four days in Taiwan, while Chinese tourists usually spend eight days, he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #947
Feb 15, 2018
Students protest in Taipei over canceled flights
Taipei Times Excerpt

A group of Taiwanese students studying in China yesterday protested in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Presidential Office Building in Taipei over canceled cross-strait flights during the Lunar New Year holiday, which they said have made returning home difficult.

XiamenAir and China Eastern Airlines last month canceled plans for additional flights between Taiwan and China during the holiday after the Civil Aeronautics Administration put their applications on hold due to their planned use of the northbound M503 flight route, which was unilaterally launched by China.

The students blamed the ministry for sacrificing their rights for political reasons and demanded that Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) step down.

Several hours before the protest, the China-based Taiwan Students Solidarity Headquarters invited the protesters to lunch.

The organization’s chairman, Chiu Jung-li (邱榮利), said the lunch was paid for by him and Taiwanese businesspeople working in China.

About two weeks ago, the group found that more than 1,000 students could not return to Taiwan for the holiday because of the canceled flights, he said.

With the group’s help, more than 900 students had returned home as of yesterday, Chiu said, but added that many had to make transit stops or travel by boat, as direct flights cost about 4,000 yuan (US$630.48) — while they used to cost about 2,500 yuan.
 

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Discussion Starter #952
First direct flight from Edinburgh to China
15 March 2018
BBC Excerpt

From June, Hainan Airlines will run direct return flights between Edinburgh and Beijing twice a week.

Most passengers will be expected to be travelling to Edinburgh for tourism or business.

Two further return flights between the two cities each week will go via Dublin.

The route will fly from Beijing to Dublin and then onto Edinburgh and then back to Beijing on Thursdays and Sundays, flying to Edinburgh and then Dublin and then back to Beijing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

An Airbus A330-300 will be used.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: "This is a fantastic day for Edinburgh Airport and for Scotland as we connect Scotland and China for the first time.

"We are two countries steeped in history and rich in culture, offering new destinations for people from both countries to visit and explore.

"Edinburgh is second only to London as the most popular UK destination for Chinese tourists, and we have worked incredibly hard with partners across the city and country to get to this point."

He added: "Tourism is one of our biggest economic drivers and still has masses of potential to unleash - let's use this opportunity to drive it forward."

Mr Bao Qifas, chairman of Hainan Airlines, said: "As a five-star airline and an outstanding representative of Chinese national enterprises, Hainan Airlines actively participates in the "One Belt One Road Initiative", and is committed to become the forerunner and practitioner of achieving China's civil aviation power."
 

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Discussion Starter #953
China Southern places $3.6 billion Boeing 737 MAX order for Xiamen Airlines subsidiary
Mar 21, 2018
Excerpt

(Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (600029.SS) said on Wednesday it had placed an order for 30 Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 MAX narrowbodies for its Xiamen Airlines subsidiary in a deal the plane maker said was worth more than $3.6 billion at list prices.

The order, including 20 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 10s for delivery between 2019 and 2022 will be used to increase efficiency and capacity, China Southern said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Xiamen Airlines in July had signed a provisional deal during the 2017 Paris Airshow to join the group of launch customers for the 737 MAX 10, the largest version of the Boeing narrowbody family.

Boeing said the firm order for 30 jets for Xiamen Airlines had been booked in 2017 and attributed to an unidentified customer at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #955
China Southern Airlines profit jumps 17 percent to record high on travel boom, yuan
Mar 26, 2018
Excerpt

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (600029.SS) (1055.HK) set a record with a 17 percent rise in annual profit on Monday, following a year of robust travel demand and strengthening yuan.

China’s largest carrier by passenger numbers said net profit attributable to shareholders in 2017 reached 5.91 billion yuan ($941.92 million). The result fell slightly short of the 6.6 billion yuan average of 17 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Previously, China Southern Airlines best-ever net income result was 5.8 billion yuan in 2010.

The airline said revenue rose 11 percent to 127.5 billion yuan. It also booked 1.79 billion yuan in foreign exchange gains as the yuan CNY=CFXS has appreciated about 10 percent against the U.S. dollar since the start of 2017.
 

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Discussion Starter #959
June 9, 2018
Hainan Airlines plans to buy aviation assets worth $1.6 bln via share issue

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hainan Airlines (600221.SS) (900945.SS), China’s fourth-biggest carrier, plans to acquire aviation assets valued at 10.48 billion yuan ($1.64 billion) in five firms to boost its route network and competitive edge, it said on Friday.

The carrier, affiliated with embattled HNA Group, said it would issue shares to up to 10 investors, including Singapore’s Temasek Fullerton Alpha Pte Ltd, to raise up to 7 billion yuan to fund aircraft purchases and six other projects, such as engine maintenance and pilot training.

Hainan Airlines hopes to upgrade its flight network and develop its aviation expertise with the acquisitions.

“With the acquisitions, the airline will be able to expand the routes, strengthen development in aviation maintenance, flight training and other services,” the airline said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

Hainan Airlines said the acquisition would result in an ownership change in the company, which is now controlled by a Chinese provincial regulator.

Hainan’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) controls the carrier through SASAC’s stake in Grand China Air Co Ltd.

It said after the transaction, its owner will become Hainan Province Cihang Foundation, which is connected to HNA Group.
 
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