China Eastern Airlines Chairman, Liu Shaoyong, stated the carrier is open to strategic overseas investment (Bloomberg/Reuters, 24-Nov-2009). The carrier will consider potential investors’ membership in the global airline alliances in deciding on a partner, according to Mr Liu. China Eastern is aligned with oneworld, although not a member, while Shangai Airlines belongs to the Star Alliance, so any partner would most likely be Star or oneworld aligned. In 2007, Star Alliance member Singapore Airlines made an unsuccessful attempt to buy a 25% share in the airline, when it was thwarted by Beijing and Air China, also part of Star.
China Eastern seeks strategic overseas investors, alliance membership
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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.
Scoot 2017 outlook: challenging market conditions and Europe launch could impact profitability
Singapore Airlines (SIA) medium long haul LCC subsidiary Scoot faces a potentially challenging 2017 as it launches flights to Europe and merges with the short haul LCC Tigerair. Scoot is also planning a series of network and schedule adjustments, which are critical to the future success of the European routes and long-term profitability.
Scoot has been successful in the initial four and a half years since its mid-2012 launch, becoming profitable in a relatively quick timeframe and unlocking a new phase of growth for the SIA Group. However, 2017 will bring intense competition and ambitious expansion in markets that are not likely to be profitable in the short to medium term.
Scoot’s newfound profitability could be at risk due to yield pressures, higher fuel costs and expenses related to new long haul route launches. Scoot and its ongoing integration with Tigerair are necessary strategically, and should improve the SIA Group’s long-term position, but the short-term outlook is relatively cloudy.