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Plan for Wuhan air hub

THE parent of Air China is considering to set up a unit in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, and to acquire assets from East Star Airlines Co to enhance its presence in central China.

"We are still studying the plans and haven't set a timetable," a spokesman of China National Aviation Holding Co told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "Our intention of building a hub in Hubei Province has not changed."

Wuhan-based East Star was on the verge of bankruptcy due to its inability to pay debts. The Wuhan Intermediate People's Court on Monday received applications from six creditors of the private carrier.

Caijing Magazine quoted an unidentified source as saying yesterday that Air China's parent has applied to the regulator about setting up a Wuhan unit, which will be operational as early as May. The group may take over East Star's resources, including routes and more than 1,000 staff members, for the new unit to speed up growth in the market, the source said.

China Southern Airlines Co and its affiliate, Xiamen Airlines Co, have more than 48 percent of the aviation market in Wuhan. China Eastern Airlines Corp has 18 percent, East Star has 11 percent and Air China occupies 5 percent.


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