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Tianjin Airlines' rebirth aims to build Asia's biggest carrier

HAINAN Airlines Co and its parent teamed up with the Tianjin government to inaugurate Tianjin Airlines yesterday in a move aimed at creating Asia's biggest regional carrier.

HNA Group, parent of China's fourth-largest airline by fleet, owns 83.15 percent of the 1.3 billion yuan (US$190 million) carrier and Hainan Air holds 1.47 percent.

The Tianjin government takes the remaining share of the new company.

The carrier's home base is Tianjin Binhai International Airport and it is expected to have 100 aircraft in its fleet.

The airline is forecast to carry 15 million passengers annually by 2012.

"The setup of Tianjin Airlines is a key step for HNA Group to set up a network covering regional and long-haul routes, as well as help the Tianjin government to spur the local economy around the Bohai Gulf," said Chen Feng, chairman of the parent.

Tianjin Airlines will mainly target business passengers traveling between second-tier and third-tier cities in China.

The new carrier also aims to grab 50 percent of the domestic regional market and will also develop the East Asian and Russian markets.

Tianjin Air was re-born from the previous Grand China Express, the country's largest regional carrier, which was set up by HNA Group with a registered capital of 600 million yuan.

China Eastern Airlines last week signed an agreement with the Yunnan provincial government to set up a joint venture to develop a regional air hub in Kunming, capital of the province.

China Eastern will hold 65 percent of the venture and the provincial government will take the balance.


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