China Eastern Airlines chief economist Shan Chuanbo, speaking on the sidelines at the IATA annual general meeting in Cape Town, stated a Hong Kong investor, holding a one third stake, has been introduced to its Jetstar Hong Kong JV with Qantas and it is confident the start up carrier will be operational at the end of this year (Hong Kong Economic Journal, 04-Jun-2013). Mr Shan said the unnamed investor is unknown to the aviation industry but has an interest in aviation. Cathay Pacific is reportedly opposing the issuing of operating licence to Jetstar Hong Kong citing basic law 134, which states airlines seeking an operating licence in Hong Kong must “have their principal place of business in Hong Kong.” China Eastern has reportedly met with Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive CY Leung, who has expressed his support for the start-up carrier.
China Eastern Airlines confirms local investor in Jetstar Hong Kong, confident year-end operations
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China and Australia remove airline growth restrictions as China cautiously embraces open skies
China has agreed to liberalise passenger flights and remove capacity restrictions with Australia, its largest outbound long haul market after the United States. This is a relief to Chinese airlines, which face bilateral constraints in North America and Europe. The result is already evident as Chinese airlines deploy more capacity and larger aircraft to Australia.
In North American and European markets the local governments hold back on traffic right expansion (let alone open skies). But for Australia it was the Australian government, which signalled some years ago that it wanted to liberalise once China was ready – a time that has now come.
Australia's view was progressive and detached from bygone days of national carrier interest; Chinese airlines hold 90% of the market to Australia. Elsewhere many governments still hold back on Chinese traffic right expansion so their local airlines can continue to grow. There are 15 Chinese airports that have nonstop flights to Australia with a total of 27 airport pairs – figures that should expand in 2017 as the market evolves further with the Virgin Australia-HNA partnership.
Air Canada and Virgin Australia codeshare, in a North American market dominated by Qantas
From early 2017 Air Canada and Virgin Australia introduce a tidy new partnership. Virgin Australia receives improved access to Canada – a market its JV partner Delta cannot sufficiently cover from their shared Los Angeles gateway. Air New Zealand's sixth freedom option, via Auckland, is the third largest transportation choice by Canadians visiting Australia. Since Virgin noisily fell out with Air NZ, the Australian airline is looking to reassert itself in Australia-North America markets that it had quietly let Air NZ dominate. Virgin has already announced plans to resume trans-Pacific services from Melbourne, which Air NZ took traffic from.
Air Canada is growing in Australia, expanding from its 2007 Sydney service with a 2016 Brisbane service, and perhaps soon Melbourne as well. Air Canada needs a partner for domestic and New Zealand connections as it expands its footprint and grows ahead of market demand. There is some conflict, since Air Canada - as it does for its expanding Asia and Europe presence – will look for USA sixth freedom traffic. Air Canada has favourable connections via Vancouver to a handful of American cities, including New York.