Shanghai Airlines is moving towards its regional expansion plan as the carrier will launch a weekly cargo flight to Bangkok and a passenger service to Osaka five times a week by the end of the year. The Shanghai-based carrier received approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) earlier in the month to operate these routes, according to a senior airline executive. He said the airline obtained the traffic rights to fly to both cities, but was waiting for final approvals from the Thai and Japanese governments. 'We expect to start the services in November or December. I think we will be notified next month,' the executive said yesterday. The carrier plans to fly to Bangkok once a week, using a Boeing 747-200 freighter, which it leased earlier for the three times a week Shanghai-Macau operations. It started co-operating with Taipei-based Eva Air last month to link up cargo from China's largest air cargo hub to Taiwan. The executive expected increasing trade flow between Shanghai and Bangkok as the mainland government lowered tariffs on Thai agricultural produce. Bangkok would also serve as a platform for Shanghai manufacturing exports, he said. 'We hope to co-operate with other airlines for cargo transshipment in Bangkok,' he added. Shanghai Airlines will fly a Boeing 757 or 767 passenger aircraft to Osaka. The executive said the carrier had obtained landing slots at the Japanese airport. 'It will be a passenger-oriented service, but there is also cargo demand, such as IT components shipping to Shanghai,' he said. Meanwhile, the carrier will also turn its twice-weekly chartered passenger service to Phuket into a scheduled service. It will fly to the Thai tourist destination with a Boeing 767, 737 or 757. The carrier, which focuses on domestic operations, has been seeking to stretch to regional destinations. It is now flying to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Vladivostok in Russia. The executive said the carrier was still evaluating the need to add a new freighter. However, it will receive three Boeing 757s next year, expanding its fleet to 31.