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China Eastern builds up routes

CHINA Eastern Airlines will build up 22 frequent routes in China as it consolidates with Shanghai Airlines, a senior executive said today in Shanghai.

China Eastern will boost its frequency on eight routes from Shanghai to more than 10 flights daily and another 14 routes to more than 6 flights daily, Ma Xulun, general manager of China Eastern, told Shanghai Daily today on sidelines of a press conference.

He said the carrier will increase the frequency of flights between Shanghai and Beijing to one flight every hour to one every half hour after as its takeover of Shanghai Airlines.

China Eastern will have 330 aircraft after its merger with Shanghai Airlines.

The two carriers have already shared their frequent flyer schemes, Ma said.

The two Shanghai-based carrier's board of directors have approved the takeover plan but the deal is still waiting for shareholder and regulatory approval.

China Eastern today teamed up with Bank of Communications to launch a joint credit card to increase their client bases.

Shanghai-based BoCom has issued more than 11 million credit since it started mid-2005.

"Credit card is a breakthrough for us to build up our retail banking services," said Li Jun, president of the country's fifth biggest bank.

The bank is targeting retail banking for the increasingly affluent Chinese to rely less on corporate lending.

The bank posted a flat profit in the first half due to falling interest income as China cut interest rates five times from September 2008.

China Eastern returned to the black in the first half of this year due to its fuel-hedging gains.


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