AMSTERDAM'S Schiphol Airport has expressed an interest in investing in and helping run Shenzhen's expanding airport, which was due to turn international earlier this week. The Dutch airport corporation seems particularly interested in using its expertise to help open a duty-free shopping centre at Shenzhen. Schiphol is recognised as having one of the biggest and best duty-free shopping complexes in Europe. Representatives have also been talking to Shenzhen Airport Corp general manager Kong Dong about offering airport management consultancy services, at a fee. This is part of a very broad co-operation both airports are trying to build, which could ultimately end in an equity investment in Shenzhen airport by the Dutch. Talks have been quietly taking place between the two sides for the past three to four months. The first international passenger flight from Shenzhen airport was scheduled to take off for Singapore on Thursday, although admittedly after some delay. China Southern Airlines had been scheduled to begin servicing the route on March 28, but postponed its inaugural flight at short notice. Singapore Airlines is hoping to start reciprocal flights soon. But Cargolux of Luxembourg is still no closer to announcing when it will start operating freight services through Shenzhen. It had hoped to begin flights this month, but is still waiting for a bilateral flight agreement to be reached between its national aviation authority and the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Delegations from more than 10 countries have visited the airport and completed feasibility studies on operating from Shenzhen, while more than 20 foreign airlines have held talks on using the airport. In order to hasten the airport's arrival on the international aviation map, China's State Council has given the go-ahead for the time being for flying rights to be offered to foreign airlines wanting to operate into Shenzhen without demanding reciprocal rights. Mr Kong has promised to keep compensation charges for such unilateral flying arrangements at an attractively low level. But some airlines are said to be reluctant to take up the offer, out of concern over what reciprocal flight arrangements might be demanded at a later date. Meanwhile, the Dutch have been having problems getting mainland airlines to use up its excess capacity at Schiphol because of politics. Chinese airlines have had problems getting Beijing's blessing to operate the route because the Netherlands flag carrier, KLM, has been flying to Taiwan for the past decade. Amsterdam airport officials first visited Beijing to argue their case 18 months ago and are now hopeful a solution can soon be found.