Chinese private carrier eyes 2011 listing: state media

SHANGHAI, July 23, 2010 (AFP) - Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines aims to become the nation's first private airline to go public by listing shares on the mainland stock market next year, state media reported Friday.

"We have chosen the underwriter," the Global Times quoted spokesman Zhang Wu'an as saying.

A different company spokesman declined to comment on the report when contacted
by AFP.

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines, which currently operates 20 Airbus A320 aircraft, earned 160 million yuan (23.6 million dollars) in the first half of 2010, more than doubling its profits from the same period a year earlier.

Revenue for the January-June period grew by 60 percent on year to 1.5 billion yuan, the company said in a statement.

The nation's first privately-run carrier Okay Airways began operating in March 2005 and has pioneered the low-cost model in China.

But privately run airlines face a host of bank-breaking restrictions that put them at a huge disadvantage to bigger, government-linked carriers.

Privately-owned East Star Airlines was grounded by the aviation regulator and then went bankrupt last year as the industry was hit hard by the global financial crisis, which dented domestic travel demand.