China Eastern's Beijing base

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines is seeking to establish a secondary base in Beijing. China Eastern has filed an application with the Civil Aviation Administration of China for approval to base Boeing 737s in Beijing and serve destinations other than its Shanghai hub. Its main competitors will be Beijing-based Air China, Hainan Airlines' Beijing-based subsidiary China Xinhua and Guangzhou-based China Southern, which has a rapidly growing secondary base in Beijing. In the past airlines were prevented from having secondary bases in Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai, but restrictions have been eased in recent years.

Fleet revamp for Nepal

Nepal's rebranded national carrier Nepal Airlines is seeking government approval for a badly needed fleet modernisation. The carrier, which for years was known as Royal Nepal Airlines, says it is seeking government approval to purchase mid-size widebody aircraft. It is also seeking to lease widebody aircraft in the interim period, and hopes to add 50- to 60-seat turboprop aircraft. Nepal Airlines dropped the "Royal" from its name after violent protests last year led to the country's king losing his powers.

Skynet Asia stake for sale

The Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan (IRCJ) is putting up for sale its 42% stake in Skynet Asia Airways following a restructuring of the airline. Skynet launched services in 2002, but quickly fell into difficulties. The IRCJ, which was established to help troubled companies, took a stake and helped the company restructure, which included the sale of a 15% stake to All Nippon Airways.

Efata suspends operations

Indonesia's Efata Air has again suspended all operations, but is hoping to resume services in the coming months. The carrier halted flying operations in December and returned its Boeing MD-80 aircraft to the lessor. It is now seeking to lease older-model Boeing 737s. Efata, which mainly served destinations in eastern Indonesia, launched services early in 2004, but soon after suspended all operations. It resumed services under new ownership early in 2006.

Travel agents sue

A class action filed by Australian travel agents could have broad implications. Agents claim Qantas and five other international airlines owe A$80 million ($63 million) for commissions unpaid on fuel surcharges dating to 2004. They claim those surcharges are legally part of the fare on which commissions should have been based. Air New Zealand (ANZ), which is also a defendant, is highlighted in the suit. Since a local consumer protection ruling a year ago, ANZ has included all surcharges in its fare and paid commissions on the total. The agents also point to Emirates, which pays commissions on both its base fare and surcharges. Plaintiffs' lawyers cite a UK court ruling that travel agent commissions are payable on the entire amount passengers pay except for excess baggage fees and third-party charges such as taxes.

Source: Airline Business