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China budget airline plans market debut

CHINA'S first budget carrier Spring Airlines plans to float shares on the Shanghai stock market in the second half of next year to finance expansion of its fleet.

The private carrier aims to running 100 aircraft by 2015, growing from the current 13 Airbus A320 jets, with 30 airplanes purchased, said its chairman Wang Zhenghua at today's news conference in Shanghai to celebrate its fourth anniversary.

"We are now choosing underwriters to help us launch an initial public offering on the main board in Shanghai," he said.

The carrier hasn't decided the size of the fundraising, but Citibank, a previously potential underwriter for the carrier, said in a plan in 2006 that the market value for the IPO would reach 8 billion yuan.

Spring Air also announced today that it had received approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China last week to fly to overseas destinations near the Chinese mainland, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

"We are still working out routes to link these new destinations and overseas routes will be launched ahead of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo," Wang said.


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