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Four Taiwan firms buy 49% of freight airline
13/1/2006 11:16

Chen Liying/Shanghai Daily news

Hainan Airlines Group signed an agreement in Beijing yesterday to transfer 49 percent of its all-cargo subsidiary, Yangtze River Express Airlines, to four Taiwan companies.
It marked the first time Taiwan firms have invested in the mainland's aviation industry. The four companies will pay 612.5 million yuan (US$76.6 million) for the stake.
China Airlines, Taiwan's biggest carrier, paid 312.5 million yuan for 25 percent of Shanghai-based Yangtze River Express.
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp will hold 12 percent of Yangtze; Wan Hai Lines Ltd and its subsidiary, China Container Express Lines Inc, Liberia, will each own 6 percent of the freight carrier.
China Container Express replaced YES Logistics Corp, a subsidiary of Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp, in the new deal yesterday.
"China Airlines will lend its management and expertise in freight operation to Yangtze and hopes to take advantage of Yangtze's network to expand its business," said Alex Liu, Chinese mainland chief representative of the airline, the world's fifth-largest freight carrier which owns 18 Boeing 747-400F cargo planes.
HNA Group, which owns the mainland's fourth-biggest airline, Hainan Airlines, hopes the partnership will speed up Yangtze's expansion to profit from the mainland's booming cargo traffic, said HNA Group officials.
The first batch of Boeing 747 carriers will join Yangtze in June this year and they will fly to Los Angeles and Boston, said Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group. He added it will probably operate European services to Frankfurt.
"We hope to build Yangtze River Express into a leading domestic cargo service provider and later a global leader," Chen said.
Yangtze River Express now owns six Boeing 737-300 all-freight carriers and operates more than 70 domestic and international flights.
The mainland's dynamic growth in trade has attracted airlines around the world to profit in the booming air cargo services, industry officials said.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Airlines, the mainland's fifth-biggest carrier, has applied to the General Administration of Civil Aviation to form an all cargo carrier with Taiwan Evergreen Airlines, the island's second-biggest carrier.