The last time we heard from Air China, it was hit by an embarrassing spate of accidents. Not so long afterwards, it announced an order for 15 units of the new Boeing 767 Dreamliner. This time, Air China has proclaimed its ambitions to grow its market share in Beijing from the existing 44% up to 50%.
And just how does it hope to do that? Well according to Vice-President Zhang Lan, the airline intends to explore such glowing markets as Pyongyang, capital of our friendly northeastern neighbour.
We wish Air China all the best, we really do, but we can’t help forgetting what happened four years ago in our past life as a
media whore public relations executive when we were flying from Beijing to Kunming for a press conference that afternoon. When we touched down, we were shocked to find that our luggage (that had all our media releases) did not arrive with our plane. It was not till one hour later that they told us the unthinkable – the luggage had been put on the wrong plane and was bound for Yangon (Rangoon), the then-capital of a certain Southeast Asian nation ruled by a military junta – and yes , if we would like to have our suitcase back, we would have to trot our own way back to the airport later in the evening to come pick it up. No apologies, no regrets, no compensation.
Needless to say, Air China has not won us back since. These days, if we need to make a trip to the capital, we’d much rather fly with China Eastern (which has the dubious honour of being the only one of China’s three top state carriers to not make profits), or the really cheap Hainan Airlines (whose chairman said something really stupid lately).
When Air China does eventually succeed in joining the Star Alliance though (it still has to work very hard at meeting another 17 of Star Alliance’s very stringent entry requirements), we might decide to give it another chance. Maybe this time, we’ll fly to Pyongyang instead, and when we get there, we’ll take Joe Dresnok out to sushi.
Shanghaiist: What’s up, Air China?
Shanghaiist: Chinese airlines betting big on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
China Daily: Air China aims for 50% of Beijing market
Photo from commalove.