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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 22, 2006

Mesa Air, partner to start domestic flights in China

Associated Press

BEIJING U.S. regional airline Mesa Air Group Inc. and a Chinese carrier said they signed a deal today to create the first joint-venture airline to fly domestically within China's booming travel market.

The new carrier will start service ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, flying to 11 Chinese cities with 50-seat regional jets, Mesa and its partner, Shenzhen Airlines Ltd., said in a joint statement. Mesa is the parent company of Hawai'i-based go! airline.

Shenzhen Airlines will have majority control of the new carrier, the airlines said. They did not disclose financial details and said they have not decided on a name for the venture.

Chinese companies in a growing number of industries are taking on foreign companies as strategic investors or joint-venture partners to get access to capital and skills to modernize their operations.

Phoenix-based Mesa operates 199 aircraft with more than 1,300 daily flights to 173 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas. It operates under its own name and as America West Express, Delta Connection, US Airways Express and United Express.

Mesa said it will provide the new Chinese airline with pilot and maintenance support, aircraft sourcing and training.

Shenzhen Airlines, based in the southern Chinese business center of Shenzhen, operates 45 A320 and B737 aircraft on 100 routes in China and Southeast Asia.