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Private company to set up int'l airline
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-02 10:00

Financial backing from a private Chinese group is expected to get a new international airline off the ground in the Republic of Vanuatu by the end of next year.

It will be the first time that a private Chinese company has establish an overseas carrier.

Wuhan-based Hubei Lisen Investment Co, in Central China's Hubei Province, is the company involved.

The plan to establish a new international airline dates back to October 1998 when the Chinese company signed an agreement with a local French enterprise to develop Vanuatu's market together.

Hubei Lisen Investment intended to provide two planes and hold an 85 per cent share, while its partner was going to inject US$1.17 million.

However, due to numerous reasons, the agreement collapsed. But Hubei Lisen Investment finally registered its own airline South Pacific International Airline last June in Vanuatu.

The carrier will start with two planes flying domestically in Vanuatu and then provide international chartered passenger services to Australia and New Zealand in its second year.

It also plans to develop a route between China and Vanuatu later.

The domestic routes in Vanuatu are expected to generate the company a daily revenue of US$30,000.

Due to the low local tax rate, the average operating cost of the airline will not exceed 40 per cent of expenses.

While China's private airlines are advancing into the international market, the country's aviation industry watchdog is considering whether it should further open China's potentially huge aviation sector to private investment from both home and abroad.

The government body has approved the groundwork for the establishment of three private airlines, E & Net Airlines, Chunqiu Airlines and Ao'Kai Airlines.

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