[photopress:air_china_crew.jpg,full,alignright]This is like a long running serial on television. You do not really enjoy watching it but there is always something happening to hook you into the next episode.
Now that Singapore Airlines has been repelled, with some small assistance from Cathay Pacific, China National Aviation Holding Company (CNAHC), parent of flagship carrier Air China, has said what it is looking for is a partnership, not a merger, with China Eastern Airlines in its new counter-offer. Makes it sound much more palatable.
CNAHC also said it would, as promised, submit the bidding within two weeks of the rejection to CEA’s proposed 24% stake sale to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Lentor Investments, a unit of the Singapore state investment company Temasek.
(Bringing that down to basic ideas SIA would have got a strong foothold in China and the area in which is specializes, customer service, would have improved beyond measure. Cathay Pacific has tried to up the quality of inflight service in China but allows that it is tough going.)
Minority shareholders voted against SIA’s bidding after CNAHC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, China National Aviation (CNAC) said it planned to buy 24 to 30% of CEA’s shares at 32% higher than SIA’s offer price. Which is an offer you cannot refuse.
This deal reflects the long-held concept of Li Jiaxiang, former CNAHC’s general manager and Air China’s board chairman, for the joint running of overlapping flights, combined cargo transport subsidiaries and a cross-shareholding arrangement between the two carriers. The official said the two central government-owned airlines could still maintain independent operation and their own brands.
CEA had a dominant 36% share of Shanghai’s aviation market, compared with 12% of the Beijing-based Air China.
What is needed now is for someone like Emirates to get involved and show the inflight crew the way that customers should be catered for. Until that happens passengers will be predominantly Chinese and these will not be truly international airlines. If from scratch, Emirates could build a reputation as one of the great service airlines of the world it should not be impossible for China Eastern or Air China to attain similar standards.
Source: China Daily