Air Transport World

Air China: new name, new heights.

Air China: New name, new heights Beijing--Air China is a relative newcomer on the world airline scene, having only been established on July 1, 1988. But in fact, only the name is new--the carrier has been in existence since the mid-1950s as part of the all-embracing Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Modeled on the lines of Aeroflot, the governmental agency had--and still has--overall responsibility for regulation and administration of all aspects of civil aviation in the People's Republic of China; all Chinese airline operations were conducted under t"h name of CAAC until June 30, 1988.

It was during the mid-'80s that the government decided that the divisions of CAAC that operated domestic, regional and long-distance international airline services should become semiautonomous carriers with their own names. Air China was the name chosen for the Beijing-headquartered division that is responsible for the nation's services to foreign destinations as well as for certain domestic routes.

VIP flight specialist

Xu Bai Ling, who was deputy CAAC administrator and head of the Beijing-based airline division, was appointed president of Air China. The veteran transport-aircraft pilot who long specialized in flying VIPs--he was a crew member on Henry Kissinger's mission to China in 1971 and was the captain on CAAC's first flight to the U.S.--also is the airline's CEO.

The airline has three vice presidents: Yang Shun Zun, VP-commercial and deputy CEO; Yan Shi An, VP-technical, and Li Chang Xin, VP-operations. …

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