Today’s Air China can trace its origins to 1988 when Air China International Corporation was established. In October 2002, based on an industry reform plan formulated by the central government, Air China International Corporation, China Aviation Corporation and China Southwest Airlines merged, and the surviving company was still called Air China International Corporation. In September 30, 2004, Air China International Corporation was rebranded as Air China Limited. In December 2004 Air China Limited became a publicly traded company on Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK: 0753) and London Stock Exchange (LSE: AIRC).
The corporate logo of Air China depicts phoenix, a legendary bird worshiped by the nation since ancient times as a symbol of luck and happiness. Chinese ancient literature contains constant references to the bird which “flies from the eastern Happy Land over mountains and seas and bestows luck and happiness upon all parts of the world.” With imagination stretched a bit, the way the logo is laid out recalls the English word “VIP”. The deep red color is used since it’s associated with anything happy and lucky in Chinese culture. The message conveyed by the whole design is that Air China commits itself to promoting the development of the country’s airline industry and offering pleasant travel experiences to passengers. For us, phoenix symbolizes a spirit. At the core of the “Phoenix Spirit” is the will to “serve the world, to lead and move forward to higher goals.” Our vision is to become “A leading carrier in the world”. Our mission stresses “operational safety, customer orientation, steady growth, people development and fulfillment of responsibilities”. These values remind us that we should “use a people-oriented approach to our business, take on social responsibilities, have the will to succeed and enjoy flying”. Our brand positioning is to be “a professional, trusted, internationally respected Chinese brand closely associated with China”. The design also features the calligraphic version of Air China’s Chinese name, a reproduction of the handwriting by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s drastic social and economic transformation who laid the foundation for the country’s economic power.
Air China is China’s only national flag carrier and a member carrier of the world’s largest airline network - Star Alliance. It was also the airline partner of the Olympics Beijing 2008. It is a Chinese carrier with the highest brand value in China’s airline industry – according to the evaluation done by the World Brand Lab in June 2016, our brand value reached RMB 115.689 billion. We are in a leading position in China in terms of passenger transportation, cargo transportation and related services.
Air China is the only designated carrier that also offers special flights for Chinese leaders on their official visit to other countries and foreign leaders traveling within China, which is another piece of convincing evidence of our exclusive status as China’s only national flag carrier. Headquartered in Beijing, Air China has a number of offshoots in different regions of the country including Southwest China, Zhejiang, Chongqing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hubei, Guizhou, Tibet, Wenzhou as well as South China Base and East China Base. The companies which we have a majority stake in include Air China Cargo, Air Macau, Shenzhen Airlines, Dalian Airlines, Beijing Airlines, Inner Mongolia Airlines, Air Macau, Air China Import & Export, Chengdu Falcon Aircraft Engineering Services and Air China Shantou Air Supplies. We also have some joint ventures created based on our partnerships with other companies, including Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Corporation of Beijing (AMECO) and Sichuan International Aircraft Engines Repair. In addition, we also have interests in Cathay Pacific Airways and Shandong Airlines. We are the largest shareholder of Shandong Airlines.
Based on the statistics last updated on June 30, 2016, we have a fleet of 603 passenger aircraft and freighters of mainly Boeing and Airbus families aged 6.26 years on average, including those operated by the carriers we have a majority stake in. We operate 377 routes, including 98 international routes, 16 regional routes and 263 domestic routes, serving 173 cities in 39 countries and regions, including 61 international cities, 4 regional cities and 108 domestic cities. Relying on the network of the Star Alliance, we have expanded our presence to 1,330 destinations in 193 countries.
Our aircraft are maintained, repaired and overhauled by a highly professional team of technicians and engineers. In May 2015, Air China Technics and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co., Ltd. merged to become a new company known as New Ameco. It is headquartered in Beijing and has 9 branches based in Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Hohhot,Shanghai, Guiyang, Wuhan and Guangzhou. It runs more than 160 domestic and international service locations, offering maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for customers around the world. Our MRO system possesses technical licenses issued by relevant organizations in nearly 30 countries and regions, including Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). We are a carrier that has been authorized by Civil Aviation Administration of China to design the modification of civil aircraft. We have 10 large hangars and possess state-of-the-art MRO facilities and equipment and impressive MRO capabilities, and have won the trust of over 80 airlines from around the world. Since the late 1980s, we have made a total of nearly 20 technical breakthroughs in China and have been honored with over 50 technical progress awards by the government units at the national and provincial levels.
We are a flight operations control expert. Our flights around the world are under the watchful eyes of our highly professional flight controllers at any minute. Our computerized flight plan system retrieves information from the aircraft performance database, global navigation database, global airport database and high altitude weather database, selects the best flight routes, develop flight plans, evaluate aircraft performance and confirm flight qualifications, ensuring strict compliance with the flight safety regulations before any aircraft is given the green light to take off. We have developed our own proprietary Operations & Management System, which is integrated with the Satellite Communications System, Air-Ground Data Communication System and Shortwave Radio System. It has made us the first domestic carrier with super remote monitoring and control capabilities.
We are a select service supplier for other domestic and foreign carriers at Beijing Capital International Airport. We serve departing and arriving passengers, transit passengers, passengers with special service request, VIPs, and First Class/Business Class passengers. We provide aircraft load balancing service, loading and unloading service on the tarmac, cabin cleaning service and special equipment maintenance and repair. We are the first domestic carrier to introduce the self-service check-in devices and self-service baggage check-in devices at airports.
People are our key assets and one of the cornerstones of our business. Our Flight Training Center boasts state-of-the-art facilities, an outstanding team of instructors and rich training expertise and can accommodate a large number of trainees. Under the Center there’s also a flight training squad based at Tianjin Binhai International Airport, which devotes one Boeing 737-300 airliner to the training of all new pilot candidates. Our Flight Attendants Training Center is the first massive training base of the kind in China. It has been officially accredited by International Air Transport Association (IATA) and boasts a team of certified instructors. Up to now, over 80,000 trainees from nearly 40 domestic and foreign airlines have received training here. Now, the construction of Air China University is well underway, and the university is expected to become a huge modern people development base that can confer degrees.
With significantly improved management, we have become a pacesetter in China’s airline industry and made our brand more valuable. In the nine consecutive years from 2007 to 2015, we featured prominently on the "Top 500 Global Brands” list, and were the only Chinese carrier ever recognized on the list. In June 2016, we snatched the 23rd spot in the “Chinese Most Valuable Brands 500” rankings released by World Brand Lab, and Air China was the top Chinese carrier of China’s civil aviation industry on the list. We have been jointly recognized as one of “China's Top Ten International Brands” by the Financial Times of Great Britain and McKinsey Management Consulting Company of the United States. We have been honored as one of the “Top 25 Exemplary Brands of China - Brand China Huapu Annual Award” by Brand China. In December 2015, we were honored with the “Chinese Brand Annual Award No.1 (Aviation)” and the “China Annual Cultural Brand Award” for the ninth consecutive year. In August 9, 2016, we were honored with the “Outstanding Enterprise for Brand Building 2013-2015” title by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC). In addition, we were named in various rankings lists as "Best Chinese Airline”, “Airline of the Year”, “Pathfinder Award”, “Best Corporate Image Award” and “Top Ten Chinese Economic Leaders”, among others.
We are fully aware of our corporate social responsibilities and are always ready to take them on. By growing our business, we pay stable taxes to the government and create jobs. We serve the communities by actively getting involved in a wide array of public interest projects and disaster relief efforts. We take of children by having established China Children Insurance Fund (CCIF) in cooperation with China Children and Teenagers’ Foundation. In 2008, we were recognized as a “Beijing Olympics & Paralympics Role Model” for our exemplary services during the events. We always responded quickly when big disasters stroke in China and other countries by providing charter flights to get the right people and supplies to the scene. By offering our help during the 2003 SARS epidemic , the 2008 snow disaster and the 2008/2009 Wenchuan and Yushu earthquakes in China, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, we have well fulfilled our corporate social responsibilities, especially those of a Chinese company controlled by the Chinese central government.