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Air Macau Plans To Expand Services, Add Beijing Flights

21 August 2002

BEIJING -- (Press Release) -- Air Macau, which is 51% owned by Hong Kong-listed China National Aviation Corp. (Q.CAN), plans to expand its service network, including additional flights to Beijing, state media reported Wednesday.

Air Macau Chief Executive Officer Zhang Hongying said the carrier will exert more effort to expand its mainland presence and diversify business into neighboring countries and regions, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Based in the former Portuguese enclave near Hong Kong, Air Macau has a fleet of 11 aircraft and specializes in cross-strait services to Taiwan.

Direct flights between Taiwan and mainland China aren't permitted, allowing airlines in Hong Kong and Macau to offer their services as a transit port for cross-strait travelers.

Established in 1995, Air Macau first turned a profit in 1999, building to a net profit of $9.5 million in 2001, the report said.

"We are confident that in 2002 Air Macau will be in the black for the fourth straight year despite fierce market competition, due to the sound development of Macau and our market expansion efforts," Zhang said.

Once better known for its casinos and gangster turf wars, Macau has been attempting to clean up its image as a tourist destination since China assumed sovereignty of the enclave from Portugal in 1999.

Zhang said the aviation industry will be the first direct beneficiary when Macau becomes established as a resort city, a more popular gambling center and a hub for conferences and exhibitions in line with an ambitious government plan.

"When this comes to fruition, Air Macau will surely capitalize on the emerging opportunities," he said.

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