Spring Airlines Chairman, Wang Zhenghua, reportedly stated Air China has again expressed interest in acquiring an equity stake in the carrier (China-CBN.com, 22-Mar-2010). According to Mr Wang, Air China first expressed interest in Spring Airlines five years ago. Air China last week announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Shenzhen Airlines.
Air China expresses interest in Spring Airlines stake: report
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Juneyao Airlines: will launch long haul, join Star Alliance, but must balance Air China's interests
China's Juneyao Airlines has always operated in the shadow of Spring Airlines. They launched from Shanghai within a year of each other and have had similar growth trajectories. Yet Spring sought the limelight and garnered attention for its low cost model. Juneyao, in contrast, often seemed to want to keep a low profile.
There are now rapid changes for Juneyao, and not just in comparison to its quiet history. In 1H2017 Juneyao is due to be the first "Connecting Partner" for Star Alliance, which will regain a footprint in China's commercial centre. Juneyao will likely transition to being a full Star member.
This will help the airline to grow its footprint as it takes delivery of its first of five 787s in 2018. Traffic rights internally and externally will be a challenge, but Juneyao must keep even closer watch on its quasi strategic patron, Air China. It is in the interests of Beijing based Air China to have a friend in Shanghai, but Air China's ultimate objective with Juneyao could be consolidation.
China and France expand flights for airlines, giving China aeropolitical negotiating leverage
China and France have agreed to a significant expansion of flights between their countries. Chinese airlines, which have no more than 50 weekly flights to France, will be permitted to grow to 126 weekly flights within a few years. This tranche of rights will likely double the number of Chinese airlines in France (currently four) and take Chinese airlines to serving French cities other than Paris.
Air France will likely grow partnerships with SkyTeam's China members, although Air France will need to make concessions on its existing China JVs. It is unclear whether Air France will revisit considerations of investing in China Southern.
Chinese airlines will become France's second largest source of foreign long haul flights, and in the long term China could surpass the US. For China, France could become its third largest long haul market after the US and Australia. France is China's third major aeropolitical expansion in recent months, after the UK and Australia. This could give China leverage to press the US and Canada to expand traffic rights, although these markets are far more convoluted.