Air China Chairman reveals plans to turn airline into super-carrier
Thursday, 18 October 2007：Air China Chairman Li Jiaxing this week spoke on the 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.
“Air China is still too small,” said Mr Li in an interview with Reuters. “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.”
Small acquisitions in the bid to create the super-carrier was one of the other options that Chairman Li brought up, but steps such as these would not level the playing field against giants such as United Airlines with a 460-strong fleet.
The delays in the delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aren’t helping Air China’s fight for more capacity. The six month delays on initial deliveries will mean that the late delivery of Air China’s 15 aircraft could hinder the carrier’s planes for aggressive route developments to serve the Beijing Olympics.
Mr Li has already written a letter to Boeing’s executives on the subject, and has expressed comments that Boeing will in some way make up for their delays.
“On the one hand, I expressed my understanding. On the other hand, Boeing should also help us think of other ways to serve the Olympics, for instance, if we lack airplanes, to deliver other planes to us early or lease planes to us,” he said to Reuters.
Air China is set to launch historic services into Pyongyang, North Korea, next month.