Trans-Tasman agreement signed by Qantas and Air NZ shares slip; ANA stronger on expected “take off”


Asia Pacific carrier share prices were stronger on Thursday, reflecting better equity market conditions, which saw a 1.76% rally in Japan's Nikkei 225, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gain 1.88% and China's Shanghai Composite surge 4.5%.

The rise on the Shanghai market resulted in solid Chinese carrier share price gains, after a period of weakness, led by Air China, which gained 5.5% yesterday. Elsewhere, Singapore Airlines gained 1.4%, with Cathay Pacific up 0.4% and Japan Airlines up 1.2%. ANA shares gained 4.4% after Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group stated the carrier's stock is "about to take off."

New trans-Tasman agreement to streamline travel, cut costs

Meanwhile, Qantas shares were down 1.9% and Air New Zealand slipped 1.6% as the Australian and New Zealand governments announcing a new trans-Tasman agreement to improve customs processing for Australian and New Zealand passengers travelling between the two countries. The agreement includes the establishment of the SmartGate passenger clearance system, electronic passport checks, direct exit paths and improved baggage screening. Air New Zealand welcomed the agreement, stating it would make it more convenient to travel between the two countries.

Also in the Australian market, Virgin Blue's shares retreated 2.4%. Jetstar CEO, Bruce Buchanan, stated he expects the carrier's revenue to overtake Virgin Blue revenues within 12 to 24 months, as a result of plans to expand capacity by almost 25% in the next year, including a 46% increase in capacity at Singapore. Jetstar's expansion plans are aimed at capitalising on growth opportunities after establishing itself in key markets of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 20-Aug-09

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