Brent Hannon/TAIPEI

Sweeping changes have left China Airlines (CAL) with a new board and a new chairman and president.

The politically inspired moves have seen CAL president Sandy Liu replaced by Christine Tsung, a former consultant to the Kaohsiung city government, who has no previous airline experience.

CAL chairman Chiang Hung-i is replaced by Lee Yun-ling, a long-time CAL employee and former vice-president of Far Eastern Air Transport. More changes are likely, says an airline source.

Incoming Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has also replaced all but one of the nine members of the China Aviation Development Foundation board, which administers 71% state-owned CAL, setting the stage for a reshuffle of the 11-member CAL board. Only Chiang is due to retain his place.

Liu's two-year tenure as CAL president saw aggressive cost-cutting and fleet rationalisation, with aircraft types reduced from seven to four and domestic subsidiaries Formosa Airlines and Mandarin Airlines merged into one carrier.

In the first five months of this year, CAL's unit costs fell 7% compared with the same period in 1999, with productivity up 20% and sales up 13%, to NT$5.56 billion ($180 million).

Source: Flight International