Great moments in ‘One Country, Two Systems’

Can you imagine if Cathay Pacific (or SQ, BA, UA, etc) suddenly had two rival CEOs, each claiming to be true leader of the airline’s management and supported by the board? That’s the situation at Hong Kong Airlines.

Ironically, this comes after the carrier had been losing senior managers at such a rate that it looked like no-one would be left.

You could be forgiven for asking why a clean, efficient and professional civil aviation regulatory authority like Hong Kong’s would give these folk a licence to operate an airline (plus bankrupt subsidiary HK Express) in this city.

Here’s a clue. HKA is part of HNA, a sprawling, overextended, debt-laden Mainland Chinese group famous for vacuuming up assets worldwide at any price and for its unclear ownership (one rumour is that retired corrupt PLA generals and their families are behind it – but it’s anyone’s guess). So it’s all about ‘Belt and Road’ rah rah ‘glorious motherland’ ‘Bay Area Opportunities’ rah rah rah!

Presumably, civil war will now break out within the company. Think Libya, but an airline. Staff will split into two factions. Conflicting groups of pilots and cabin crew will seize their own aircraft, and ground crew will ambush buses on the apron to pressgang passengers onto their side’s plane. When an HKA flight is cleared for landing, two A320s will try to nudge each other out of the way to arrive first.

I declare the long weekend open with some more reading on Mainland corporate affairs.

Who really owns Huawei? Could it be the Chinese state? Yes it could.

Over in the more private-sector world, why did Mainland used-car trader Uxin’s NASDAQ-listed shares plummet recently? Could they have falsified their revenue figures? Looks like it (fuller explanation here).

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