China private airlines headhunting key staff at major carriers - report


BEIJING (XFNews) - The expansion of private airlines in China has put pressure on their state-owned competitors, with the incumbents now having to worry about losing key personnel as well asmarket share, the China Daily reported.

The report cited the case of Li Kun, the former deputy general manager of state-owned China Southern Airlines, who was made general manager of Shenzhen Airlines, the largest private carrier in the country, the newspaper said.

Although China Southern refused to comment on Li's departure, an aviation analyst told the China Daily that he was likely attracted by the private airline's potential for career growth.

Li is the first senior manager to make such a switch, and the impact of his move is being felt through the industry, the newspaper said.

Also last month, 10 captains from China Eastern Airlines, in an unprecedented move, asked to resign.

"While helping break the previously-monopolized civil aviation market, private airlines also provide more opportunities for pilots and managers," a professor from the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, who gave only the name Liu.

Shanghai-based private carrier Spring Airlines transported more than 75,000 passengers between July and October last year on 436 flights with just one aircraft in its fleet. The load factor for the airline was 95 pct, according to company president Wang Zhenghua.

East Star Airlines, established in August 2005 in Shanghai, has signed an agreement to acquire 20 more aircraft.

Tianjin-based Okay Airways, the first private carrier in China to take to the skies, said it was on the lookout for opportunities in cargo operations.

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