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
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
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
"We hope to build Yangtze River Express into a leading domestic
cargo service provider and later a global leader," Chen said.
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.