China Southern Airlines has a new chairman after a series of corruption scandals and purges that have seen six senior executives removed in the course of a year.
The appointment of a new chairman is a sign that the sector’s biggest corruption probe may be over, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) has reported.
Wang Changshun, a vice-minister in China’s Ministry of Transport, was appointed China Southern’s chairman and deputy Communist Party secretary earlier this week, the airline said in a notice on its website.
That’s four months after former chairman Si Xianmin was taken away for investigation, the paper reports. It says Wang now faces the task of improving the image of the company.
According to the SCMP, Wang, at the age of 58, is taking on a job that is likely to be his last before retirement.
His predecessor Si, who departed China Southern in January, was expelled from the party “and handed to the judiciary for ‘serious disciplinary violation’ that included suspected bribery,” the SCMP said, citing a notice placed by China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on its website on 3 February 2016.
Si was officially accused of abusing his power to benefit his family and allowing illicit transfer of public funds.
Guangzhou-based China Southern is Asia’s largest airline in fleet size and passengers carried and the world’s sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried. It is the world’s fourth-largest airline in domestic passenger traffic and the sixth-largest in scheduled domestic passenger-kilometres flown.
From its main hubs at Beijing Capital International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the airline flies to 193 destinations using a fleet of more than 400 aircraft.
Written by Peter Needham