Newspaper headlines cried ‘Red skies ahead’ as Air China increased its stake in Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific to 29.99% this week. The deal saw China’s leading carrier up its shareholding in Cathay from just over 17%.
The British-based Swire family still controls 41.97% of Cathay through Swire Pacific, which has 10 board seats out of 18 (Air China will now have four).
But speculation is growing that Air China will eventually take control. As the South China Morning Post commented: “Noodles or cucumber sandwiches? If Air China’s ambition to take control of Cathay Pacific is ultimately successful, it will create Asia’s largest carrier and help the state-owned airline lift its game.”
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