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Go-ahead for airlines to merge
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China Eastern Airlines' takeover of smaller local rival Shanghai Airlines has been approved by the aviation regulator, a senior official of China Eastern said yesterday.

"We have gained approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China and begun merging business between the two carriers, such as integrating flights for the winter-spring season," said Ma Xulun, general manager of Shanghai-based China Eastern.

The two airlines operate more than 300 aircraft, and the integration will make better use of these airplanes to optimize their network, Ma said.

The merged airline will launch 22 express routes, which feature higher frequencies, when the winter-spring season schedule starts in November.

"Some routes will have 14 flights daily and some routes will have one flight per half hour, which can meet different needs of passengers," Ma said.

He made the remarks at a news conference yesterday to launch a new product for business travelers via China Eastern's e-commerce platform.

China Eastern will hold a shareholders meeting on October 9 to vote on the merger plan with Shanghai Airlines, which involves a share swap. The merger is set to raise their market share in Shanghai to more than 50 percent.

(Shanghai Daily August 28, 2009)

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