China Eastern aims for fleet of almost 600 within five years

China Eastern Airlines announced it plans to capitalise on the growth of travel in the Asia Pacific and China by expanding its fleet to 588 aircraft during the 12th Five Year Plan from 2011 to 2015. China Eastern expects to increase passenger volume by 10.2% and turnover by 12.1% p/a during the period.

Airbus recently forecast passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific would grow by 5.8% p/a over the next 20 years, 1ppt above the global average.

China Eastern also announced it plans to reduce its debt ratio from 85% to 70% and confirmed it may introduce strategic investors, although a timetable for any investment has yet to be established. China Eastern Airlines Chairman Liu Shaoyong, added that the recent appreciation in the Chinese yuan may have a CNY390 million (USD60 million) financial benefit for the company.

All Nippon Airways reportedly plans to sell JPY30 billion (USD365 million) of three-year bonds, with terms to be set on 15-Mar-2011.

Also in Japan, Jetstar Airways and Spring Airlines are reportedly planning to launch units in the country to operate domestic routes. The LCCs reportedly intend to raise funds from Japanese companies to establish the domestic carrier, in order to satisfy foreign ownership regulations. The carriers have reportedly approached Japan’s MLIT with their plans.

India’s Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi has requested his counterpart at the Finance Ministry reconsider a proposed service tax on air travel, arguing that the combination of the levy and the increased price of jet fuel prices will hurt India's airlines.

In trading in Asia Pacific airline shares on Monday, only Shandong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and All Nippon Airways finished stronger.

SpiceJet shares finished 6.4% lower. Shares in the carrier have lost 54.5% of their value for the year to date.

Selected APAD daily share price movements (% change): 8-Mar-2011