STANDARDISED operating figures on China's big three airlines are now available from the International Air Transport Association, through its recently released annual statistical report. The three airlines - Beijing-based Air China, Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines, and Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines - joined the world airline body in 1993. The IATA report shows that in one standard airline measure - revenue passenger kilometres; the distance flown by each passenger - Air China is larger on international routes than the two others combined. But in terms of actual passengers, China Eastern Airlines is almost as large as Air China on international routes. The reason for this difference is that China Eastern operates primarily regional routes, but Air China also has many long-haul flights. By the seats-sold measure, one passenger flying Beijing-Frankfurt would be counted the same as one passenger flying Beijing-Tokyo. On domestic routes, China Southern is twice as large as the two other airlines, and also larger in total international and domestic figures. The IATA report also gives an insight on the relative efficiency of the airlines, showing that mainland operators still do not match Asian counterparts in operational efficiency. The passenger loads of the three airlines are five per cent to 15 per cent lower than those of Cathay Pacific, registering 55 per cent to 65 per cent capacity compared with Cathay's 70 per cent. The three also under-use their aircraft. Before the airline reforms in China starting 1984, the Chinese airlines - then operating under a single name, CAAC - were notorious for low utilisation levels, with usage figures less than half of those in comparable airlines elsewhere. Most airlines strive to optimise flying time to earn more revenue. Such high utilisation depends on several factors, most important being regular and efficient preventive maintenance. There has been substantial improvement, but China's airlines still use their aircraft between 10 per cent and 20 per cent less than other airlines in Asia. Direct comparative figures can be misleading because, for instance, Cathay Pacific uses its B747-300s on some regional routes, but most airlines use these aircraft only on longer-haul flights. But as one reasonable comparison, Air China uses its long-haul Boeing B747-400s just under eight hours daily, while Cathay's planes work 121/2 hours daily. The IATA report shows that the three airlines reported higher figures to China's aviation body, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, than they did to the International Air Transport Association. However, the difference could be in IATA's exclusion of non-revenue passengers, those travelling free or on tickets 75 per cent below the normal full fare. SHANGRI-LA has two special-rate programmes this winter at its China hotels. The discount is 30 per cent off the full price at its hotels in Shanghai and Shenzhen; 40 per cent off at the China World and Traders in Beijing; 40 per cent off in Hangzhou; and a 50 per cent discount in Xian, and at its third hotel in Beijing - the Shangri-La Hotel, which is out of the central city area. The discounts are not available on rooms in executive floors, except in Xian, or on suites. In addition, there is double-mileage on three frequent-flyer programmes - Mileage Plus, of United Airlines; World Perks, of Northwest/KLM; and Passages, of Cathay, Malaysia, and Singapore Airlines. Also part of the programme is a lucky draw for 20 tickets on Dragonair. Each booking on Shangri-La's discount programme for its China hotels qualifies for one entry. The company has another programme for guests paying full price. Perks include limousine service transfers between airport and hotel in both directions, unlimited laundry and dry cleaning, full breakfast and an upgrade to a higher-category room. For instance, at Traders hotel in Beijing, those paying US$170 are moved to the US$190 deluxe garden-view rooms. And at the China World, those in the standard rooms are moved to deluxe, those in deluxe up to Horizon (executive floor) rooms, and those in the Horizon rooms up to a Parlour Suite. SHANGHAI'S Jinjiang Tower Hotel targets for 1995 are $223.9 million revenue, up 27 per cent, and $57.7 million profits, up 76 per cent. The company also plans to form a hotel management company. The Holiday Inn in Shanghai, which became the higher-level Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in 1993, expects 85 per cent occupancy at an average US$120 per-room revenue this year, compared with about 80 per cent at US$100 in 1993.