[photopress:air_france_cargo.jpg,full,alignright]China Southern Airlines Chairman Liu Shaoyang stirred up speculation that Air France might take an equity stake in the Chinese carrier as the two airlines entered into a framework agreement for their cargo joint venture. As reported by the South China Morning Post he said, ‘There will be a sequel.’
This was at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Istanbul. He did not elaborate on his remark.
Although Air France only owns 25% of the joint venture – which is to be called AE Cargo – it will appoint the chief executive. This is seen as a reflection of the European carrier’s greater expertise in the international cargo market.
The joint venture is only the second between a European and a Chinese airline, following Jade International, a tie-up between Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa.
[photopress:air_China_Southern_1_2_3_4.jpg,full,alignleft]Will this go further? Will be seeing more and more of this? For sure. If you were to list the number of airlines which are going to trim unprofitable routes, delay purchases, go into defensive amalgamations with other airlines and you would probably have a list of every airline in the world.
It comes down, simply, to one thing – the price of oil. You could almost do a graph showing that the amount of turmoil – and that is the right word – in the world of aviation and from extension to the whole world of travel is controlled by the movement of that price. If it gets to $200 a barrel then the whole world of tourism and aviation will change – and probably change permanently.
The cargo plane at the top is Air France. And the hostesses here are China Southern. Yes, we could have used another picture of an air freighter but they are not inherently exciting.