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Boeing, Airbus to fly China Southern
( 2003-09-14 07:50) (China Daily)

Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines, one of the country's three biggest airlines, will purchase 4 Boeing 737-800 passenger planes and another 2 Airbus 319-100 before the end of the year.

The 129-foot, 6-inch 737-800, a stretched version of the current 737-400, is capable of carrying 160 to 189 passengers.

The new aircraft will be put into service in both domestic and international routes starting 2004, according to Yan Zhiqing, president of China Southern Airlines.

China Southern Airlines will also import 6 Boeing 737-700 and a Boeing 777-200 model in 2004 and another Boeing 737-700 in 2005.

Meanwhile, the company will buy another 2 cargo aircraft and lease several small planes for operating some domestic regional air routes this year.

'The new purchase reflects China Southern Airlines' great confidence on the future aviation market," Yan said.

China's aviation market is witnessing even faster recovery since June when Beijing and Guangdong were removed from the World Health Organization's SARS affected area list, Yan said.

And spurred by the CEPA (closer economic partnership arrangement) that will come into effect starting next year, the passenger flow between Hong Kong and the mainland will sharply increase, Yan predicted.

China Southern Airline, which went public in Shanghai Stock Exchange in early July, has raised enough funds for expansion of the company's aircraft fleet, Yan said.

Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines has opened multi-channels to help raise the large sum of money for its expansion. They include bank loans and foreign financing events.

China Southern Airline is now negotiating with relevant government departments and airports at home and abroad to open more new domestic and international flights in the years ahead.

China Southern Airlines has now opened many international air routes to Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, Europe, South Korea and East Asia.

And its international flights can usually contribute about 20 per cent of the company's total revenue annually, Yan added.

Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines also has to invest a large sum of money to construct its new headquarters building in the new Guangzhou International Airport, according to Yan.

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