[photopress:air_china_air.jpg,full,alignright]New readers start here. Air China wants to buy China Eastern. China Eastern considers this a fate worse than death and if it is going to be sorted – and by damn it needs it – than Singapore Airlines would be the airline of choice. (The fact that Air China and China Eastern are both effectively government owned shows that the China government uses an unique for of democracy in running its holdings.)
Air China Acting Chairman Kong Dong said Friday that China Air now plans to introduce Cathay Pacific Airways as its partner in its bid for China Eastern Airlines to help improve CEA’s management.
Kong Dong admitted that Singapore Airlines, CEA’s preferred cooperative partner, is among the world’s best carriers but said, ‘Cathay Pacific also possesses many advantages.’ Yes it does. As in already possessing some of the action by having shares in China Airlines.
CX Chairman Christopher Pratt commented last week that the Hong Kong-based carrier will support CA’s bid for CEA but warned that ‘the result won’t come out soon.’
Kong Dong said CA will not propose a new bid despite CEA’s rejection but will elaborate on its current offer if CEA is willing to accept it. He also said that the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the controlling stakeholder of China’s state-owned airlines, will not interfere with CA’s bid.
SASAC Vice Minister Wang Ruixiang said last week that the Chinese government will facilitate dialog between state-owned airlines but ‘it won’t force them to merge if they hold different views on it.’
This story has legs and will run. However, the harsh truth is that China Eastern is not remotely up to international standards in inflight service and that is where the battle will be fought. China Air is better, but not by a large margin.
Could SIA turn China Eastern around and get the people in cabin service to understand that passengers are not just unwonted interruptions? One doubts it. But, plainly, with open skies the new formula Air China and China Eastern have got to lift their game or they will be swamped.
Source: ATW Online