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Budget carrier gets its 1st Airbus jet

SHANGHAI-BASED budget carrier Spring Airlines received its first of 16 purchased jets from Airbus yesterday, and the remaining jets will be delivered within three years.

China's first budget airline ordered 16 A320 jets for a total price of 6 billion yuan (US$877 million). The first A320 jet will fly between Shanghai and Lanzhou, Urumqi, Zhangjiajie, Guiyang and Hainan. The carrier will continue to operate 11 leased A320 jets.

"The asset-to-debt ratio of Spring Airlines is about 40 percent to 50 percent, much lower than the average level in the aviation industry, so we have adequate cash flow to support the expansion of fleet size," said Wang Zhenghua, chairman of the carrier.

The carrier plans to fly to Hong Kong and Macau this year and is eying routes linking the Chinese mainland with Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia next year, said Wang.

Despite the economic downturn, the carrier still targets its net income to double this year from last year's 20 million yuan and its revenue is expected to reach 2.2 billion yuan this year from 1.6 billion yuan a year earlier, according to Wang.

"We will carry out more measures to achieve the target such as charging for checked luggage," Wang said. He also expected the government to exempt carriers from a business tax and subsidize those which operate international routes.

Wang said although the sagging stock market has affected its plan for a share sale, the carrier will continue to prepare for it.


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