[photopress:Air_China_Li_Xijiang.jpg,full,alignright] Li Jixiang, the chairman of Air China Chairman, said there is a need for the Chinese aviation industry to create ‘super-carriers’ able to compete on a global level, and that his airline was up to the challenge.
The comment also leaves room for the flag carrier to further pursue a merger with China Eastern, a move earlier denied them, but one that Air China still hasn’t ruled out for further consideration.
In a sense it has already expanded through consolidation. On 28 October, 2002, Air China consolidated with China National Aviation Corporation and China Southwest Airlines. During 2004 as part of a consolidation of the Chinese aviation industry Air China absorbed Zhejiang Airlines (a subsidiary of CNAC).
Li Jixiang said, ‘Air China is still too small. To realize this super-carrier, Air China can do it; other airlines can also do it. Other airlines can also buy Air China – we welcome anyone to buy Air China shares. As long as China produces a super-carrier, I’ll be happy.’
Chairman Li brought up one option for growing as being small acquisitions as it has before in the bid to create the super-carrier. It will take a lot of acquisitions for it to be able to compare with, say, United Airlines with a 460-strong fleet compared to Air China’s 68.
Not helping as the delays by Boeing in the delivery of the 787 Dreamliner. The six month delays on initial deliveries could hinder the carrier’s planes for aggressive route developments to serve the Beijing Olympics.