China's Sichuan Airlines plans to acquire majority stake in Northeast Airlines

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China's Sichuan Airlines plans to acquire a majority stake in Guilin-based Northeast Airlines, by increasing its share of the airline to 97% from 33.5% currently.

It will purchase the stakes of the Shenyang government and Liaoning Huanjiang Property, which hold 16.25% each of Northeast, as well as a significant portion of Shenyang Zhongrui Investment's 34% stake. says an airline spokesman.

The takeover is unlikely to affect operations at Northeast, he adds.

Northeast Airlines was launched in 2006 and was based in Shenyang Taoxian International Airport. It moved operations to Guilin in December 2009 after stopping all services from Shenyang due to tough market conditions. Following this takeover, Northeast operations will move to Hebei province in northern China, say local media reports.

Northeast operates an Airbus 319 and two Embraer ERJ-145s, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

This takeover is Sichuan's second in recent years after it took a 76% majority stake in United Eagle Airlines, which was later renamed to Chengdu Airlines, in March 2009. The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) subsequently bought over part of Sichuan's stake, paving the way for a sale of 30 ARJ21s to United Eagle.