Two airline companies in China have sold or are in the process of selling their fleet of Cessna aircraft.

Shandong Airlines' charter firm Rainbow Jet has put its five Cessna 208 Caravans up for sale, according to Chen Xin, Shandong Airlines director of aircraft sales. He says all five aircraft were manufactured in 2001.

Rainbow Jet also used to have two Bombardier Challenger 604 business jets but sold these early last year. The sale of the business jets coupled with the impending sale of the five Cessna Caravans means Rainbow Jet will no longer have any aircraft.

Executives at Rainbow Jet decline to comment on the company's future, but well-placed industry sources say Rainbow Jet is closing at the behest of Shandong Airlines' parent Air China which wants Shandong Airlines to focus on its core business of scheduled passenger services and stop operating business charters.

One source says Air China earlier looked at merging Rainbow Jet with Air China Business Jet but later decided against it.

While Rainbow Jet's five Cessna Caravans have yet to find a buyer, Sichuan Aolin General Aviation based in Sichuan's capital Chengdu, has acquired three Cessna 208B Grand Caravans from China Southern Airlines.

According to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Sichuan Aolin plans to start an ad hoc charter charter business and had applied to have its general aviation air operator's certificate altered to include business and tourist charters.

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