The last time the skies were this dangerous, the Battle of Britain was raging. As the Financial Times points out: “Being the head of a privately-owned airline has become quite hazardous in China over the past year as the aviation industry undergoes a state-led consolidation.” The latest move occurred this week when state-owned Air China finally took 51% control of Shenzhen Airlines, boosting its southern footprint and displacing entrepreneur, Li Zeyuan (who has been detained for ‘economic crimes’). And this isn’t the first time that’s happened. An earlier round of involuntary consolidation last year saw East Star Airlines forced into liquidation, and its CEO Lan Shili locked up (see WiC12). WiC first reported on Air China’s ambitions to acquire the Shenzhen-based carrier in issue 42 and it has finally realised its goal with a package that will see it inject Rmb382 million
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