IN an attempt to remedy the inefficient mail service and ease the heavy postal traffic in China, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is to set up its own aviation company and airline which will handle air mail. The ultimate aim of the ministry is to build an independent, national air network covering 30 major cities for faster and more efficient air postal service before the end of this century. It has acquired the requisite approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country's governing body for the aviation industry, according to Xinhua (the New China News Agency). The long-awaited entity will take the form of a limited liability company and according to the directorate-general of Posts, Zhang Guanji, the feasibility study of running an airline for postal service had been under way. The agency said that detailed proposals for the establishment of the airline had been mapped out and that the first batch of three specially-designed aircraft were being assembled. Delivery is expected during the first quarter of next year. The aircraft used will be the Chinese-made Y8-F100. The nationwide air network of the ministry will be based in Beijing and will link cities including Wuhan, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Urumqi. On completion of the network, it is expected that 60 per cent of mail will reach its destination within a day of being mailed. Mr Zhang said China's postal volume had a 20 per cent growth in recent years, of which express mail had registered a 70 per cent increase. The consequent increase in postal traffic could not be coped with by the existing network of civil airlines, he said. Xinhua said it usually took between five and seven days to have mail carried from one provincial capital city to another. The posts division had taken measures to improve the efficiency of the system. Some of the measures taken included increasing the number of automatic facilities and postal transfers. The posts division is one branch of the ministry, which is keen to completely separate its enterprise functions and regulatory role. Telecommunications is the other branch of the monolith, whose monopoly in the coveted sector is increasingly being threatened.