Taiwan's state-controlled China Aviation Development Foundation (CADF) has approved the proposed sale of half of its 71% majority stake in China Airlines (CAL) to yet to be identified local or foreign investors.

CADF plans to reduce its holding in CAL to 35.5%, as part of a move to revamp the financially stricken national carrier.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has already signed a memorandum to take a 5-10% stake in CAL and has indicated that it wishes to increase this to as much as 30%.

Meanwhile, CAL has appointed former commercial vice-president Sandy Y K Liu as acting president. The carrier has been without a president since the resignation of Fu Chun-fan in the wake of the accident in February of an Airbus Industrie A300-600R with the loss of 202 people.

The more immediate challenge before Liu is to address the airline's tarnished safety record by conducting a complete overhaul of the carrier's flight operations and training. SIA, as part of its co-operation agreement with CAL, is assisting with this process.

The airline must also decide on the rationalisation and replacement of its widebody fleet, with a planned order for new Boeing 777s and Airbus A340s now overdue.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's government has ordered a new Boeing 737-800 presidential VIP aircraft for delivery in 2000 to replace a 737-400 now leased from Boullioun Aviation Services.

Source: Flight International