China Airlines to plea on cargo case; Korean Air focuses on Asia-US routes

Shares in China Southern gained strongly yesterday, up 5.8% in Hong Kong trading. The carrier’s share price rose the highest since May-2010 in Shanghai trading, after Kenneth Fisher, the Chairman of Fisher Investments Inc, recommended the stock, stating the airline is a stock that investors can retain for "five to 10 years".

Overall, shares of Chinese companies jumped in Shanghai reopening after a three-day holiday last week, with the Shanghai Composite Index advancing steadily throughout the day. Chinese airline shares in the Hong Kong market were also stronger, with China Eastern, Air China and Hainan Airlines shares gaining 4.2%, 3.9% and 0.7%, respectively.

Korean Air operates most services between Asia and North America

Shares in Asiana Airlines and Korean Air also gained strongly yesterday, up 7.7% and 5.4% respectively, with the nation’s airlines leading increases in South Korean stocks, which finished 0.8% higher on Monday. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose to a 28-month high yesterday with total market capitalisation also reaching a record of KRW1,029.79 trillion.

Korean Air Chairman and CEO Cho Yang-ho in an interview with Wall Street Journal stated the carrier aims to become the main connector of services between Asia and North America, targeting international passengers travelling to destinations other than Tokyo. The carrier operates from Seoul to 15 Japanese cities, 12 cities in the US and Canada and 53 in Asia outside of South Korea, with the proportion of passengers from outside South Korea growing sharply, from 36% in 2007 to 56% in 2009. 

The CEO added that the carrier is considering purchasing 70 to 120-seat aircraft in the next couple of years for use on short-haul routes to China and Japan. The Chairman added that the carrier plans to expand its cargo presence in the Latin America, Central Asia and Scandinavian markets, with plans to replace older freighter aircraft with new.

China Airlines agrees to plea on cargo case

Also in North Asia, China Airlines shares were up 2.1%. Taiwan’s largest carrier has agreed to pay a USD40 million fine following a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation into fuel surcharges for air cargo shipments.  Meanwhile, shares in EVA Air slipped 0.4%, to be the only North Asian listed carrier to witness a share price reduction yesterday.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change):  27-Sep-2010