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Speech by SEDL at China Aircraft Services Ltd's ground-breaking ceremony for maintenance hangar (English only)

    Following is the speech by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, at China Aircraft Services Ltd's ground-breaking ceremony for maintenance hangar today (December 7) (English only):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am honoured to be here to officiate at this ground-breaking ceremony for China Aircraft Services Ltd(CASL)'s new maintenance hangar.

     CASL has been a valuable partner of the Hong Kong International Airport since its opening in 1998.  As a provider of line-maintenance services, CASL has contributed significantly to our airport's development as an international aviation hub.  Growing together with our airport, CASL today has a workforce of nearly 1 000, providing round-the-clock services to more than 30 airlines with more than 170 flights per day.

     I am most delighted that CASL has decided to expand its operations to cover base-maintenance services.  By becoming the second base maintenance service provider at our airport, CASL will offer more choices to airline customers and help enhance our competitive edge as an aircraft maintenance hub.  I am also delighted to know that CASL's expansion will create more than 200 skilled jobs in Hong Kong.

     Like CASL, Hong Kong is equally committed to investing into the future.  At our world-class airport, a second Passenger Terminal Building and 10 additional cargo parking stands will be commissioned in 2007.  In addition, a permanent cross-boundary ferry terminal for sea-air transit passengers, SkyPier II, will come into operation in 2008.  This will help enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong as an aviation hub.

     Ladies and Gentlemen, once again I would like to congratulate CASL on its smart decision to expand into the base-maintenance business.  I am sure the company will be well rewarded and I wish the company every success in its new endeavour.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 7, 2006
Issued at HKT 16:16