The listed arm of Sinotrans, China's largest freight carrier, will lead a consortium of seven domestic companies in buying a 2.88% stake in Air China ahead of the company's US$1 billion Shanghai IPO. Sinotrans Air Transportation Development (Sinoair) will take 80 million of the 350 million A-shares targeted by the consortium, Bloomberg reported. Other investors include PICC Property and Casualty, China Shipbuilding Industry, China General Technology (Group) Holdings, China Power Finance, China Yangtze Power and Three Gorges Finance. Air China plans to sell 22.25% of its stock by August 22, with institutions required to retain shares for at least 18 months after the IPO. The airline carried 3 million passengers last month, up 11.9% year-on-year. It recorded a 16% increase in passenger numbers for the first half of the year.