Air China Wins Dogfight

The top mainland carrier seems to have trumped Singapore Airlines in the battle for China Eastern and its crucial Shanghai hub
Passengers boarding an Air China plane at Beijing's Capital Airport. Getty Images

In China's fiercely competitive aviation market, projected to expand almost fivefold by 2026, state-owned Air China has been working hard to shed its second-class image. It has managed to become the country's most profitable airline, booking a $300 million profit on $2 billion in revenues in the third quarter of 2007, and is now allied with one of the world's most admired airlines, thanks to a June, 2006, injection of $530 million from Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways, which owns 20%. Beijing-based Air China, which raised $1.1 billion in a dual listing in Hong Kong and London in December, 2004, now has a market capitalization of $37.4 billion, higher than that of British Airways (BAB), Southwest Airlines (LUV), and Singapore Airlines combined.

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