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Kunming Airlines to launch in January 2009

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Kunming Airlines (昆明航空公司) announced that it will launch its first flights in January of next year, according to Kunming media reports.

Kunming Airlines CEO Wang Qingmin (王清民) told reporters that Kunming Airlines is receiving investment from Shenzhen Airlines and will also draw support from the airline's management and IT systems.

Kunming is building what is expected to be China's fourth-largest airport which is expected to drive the city's emergence as the main air hub between China, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Wang said Kunming Airlines has a 15-year development plan it calls its '3-5-7 Plan', which involves three stages of strategic development. In the airline's first three years (2008-2010) the airline will assemble a fleet of 30-40 planes and establish an extensive flight network throughout Yunnan. During this stage the airline will also establish routes to China's provincial capitals and economically developed cities on the mainland, eventually connecting these cities with major Southeast Asian destinations.

In the following five years (2010-2015) the airline plans on upgrading its fleet to 80-100 planes and establish hubs in Xi'an and Guangzhou while strengthening its trunk and branch routes.

During the seven years after that (2015-2022) Kunming Airlines will expand its fleet to 150-200 planes and establish hubs in Tianjin and Hangzhou and will focus on developing its international reach.

Shenzhen Airline's involvement in Kunming Airlines brings needed credibility to the new airline, which was formally established in 2005. Established in 1993, Shenzhen Airlines has been profitable for the last 14 years and is China's largest privately held airline. Specific terms of Shenzhen Airlines' investment in Kunming Airlines have not been released.

Related articles:

Kunming to get new airline

Kunming to build China's 4th-largest airport

Kunming-Singapore rail link, Yunnan Airport Group seeking investment

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