China Eastern Airline
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  • 1. Corporate Communication and Reputation AuditCorporate Communication and Reputation Audit There are three major airlines in china, Air China; China Southern Airline; China EasternAirline. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited is at the core of China Eastern Air HoldingCompany. Its predecessor is China Eastern Airlines, which was founded in June 1988. Listedon the Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai stock exchanges in 1997, China Eastern Airlinesbecame the first listed company in Chinese civil aviation industry. China Eastern has established an air transportation network linking all corners of the world with Shanghai. China Eastern Air Holding Company, headquartered in Shanghai, is one of the three largest major air transportcompanies in China. The scope of business includes public air transportation, general aviationand air transport operations and the production and sale of related products, aviation equipment 1
  • 2. Corporate Communication and Reputation Auditand equipment maintenance, passenger air transport, freight services and ground handling,aircraft leasing, and aviation training and consulting services. “In January 2010, China Eastern Air Holding Company possessed assets worth a total ofabout RMB 108.5 billion Yuan, owned more than 330 large and medium-sized and 18 generalaviation aircraft,provided airservice to 151destinations, andhad over 60,000employees.”(2011) Currently,China EasternAir HoldingCompany is theparent companyof 21subsidiaries. Thus, after years of optimizing and integrating resources, forming an airtransportation network offering services that include aviation food services, import and export,financial futures, mass media advertising, ticket sales and airport investment. As one of the three major airlines in China, it operates 50 overseas offices and 11 domestic 2
  • 3. Corporate Communication and Reputation Auditbranches. As an official member of Sky Team, China Eastern has extended its flight networkfrom Shanghai to 983 cities in 178 countries via close cooperation with Sky Team memberairlines. Flying a fleet of more than 400 long haul and short-haul aircrafts with an average ageof less than seven years, China Eastern serves nearly 70 million travelers annually and ranksamong the world’s top 5 airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume. Mission andvalue are very important to company. China eastern airline’s mission and value is to be a“cherished by staff, preferred by customers, satisfactory to shareholders and trusted by society”company.The most important thing for airline is safety. China eastern airline is no exception.On one hand, China Eastern Airline always adheres to high standards. And they have notaccidents in past 8 years. When I worked in China Eastern Airline, I could see many slogansabout safety. On the otherhand, the reputation is also important for airline. China Eastern Airlines joinedthe Sky Team on 21 June 2011, to become the 14th member. The decision could improve theinternational profile of China Eastern Airline. And also they care about every passenger’srequirement. For example, in their system, they have a lot of records about whose need specialservice. When the passenger book the ticket, they will ask them whether they need specialservice, like wheelchair service, vegetarian food and etc. In 2010, China Eastern Airlineofficially opened the micro-blog (twitter). And in 2008 they join the Facebook. Thatcommunication platform helps them to know that passenger’s feeling. They not only focus on 3
  • 4. Corporate Communication and Reputation Auditsafety and reputation but also they attach great importance on social responsibility. The sustainable development of an enterprise is interdependent with and closely related tothe sustainable development of the society. China eastern airline has always placed greatimportance on technical innovation and application and actively explores new technologies,models and areas in civil aviation to comply with the environmental protection policy andenergy saving and emission reduction requirements of the PRC. Adhering to the idea of dualfocus on both energy conservation and development and mutual coordination betweendevelopment and saving, they advocate the idea of low-carbon flying, energy consumptionreduction, conservation of the environment and create a friendly community and establish aresource conservative and environmentally friendly enterprise. With the target of loweringresources and energy consumption, China eastern airline advocates the concept of “low-carbonflying”. They seek to initiate an operational mode of “Consuming and emitting less butperforming more efficiently” to foster organic and efficiency-oriented growth. Jet fuelconsumption accounted for more than 98% of the energy consumption of the China easternairline. More than 90% of the Company’s flights undergo refueling and flying in accordancewith the “low-carbon flying” scheme. “Low-carbon flying” is implemented via standardizedand regulated management. Fuel consumption and carbon emission are lowered throughapproaches such as system restrictions, procedural enhancement and technological innovation. In 2011, Libya and Egypt outbreak civil war, Yunnan and Japan broke in big earthquakes.China eastern airline participated in the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Egypt and Libya,as well as the support of emergency earthquake transport in Yunnan and Japan. With the 4
  • 5. Corporate Communication and Reputation Auditcompany’s quick response, precise arrangements and its courage to overcome hardship anddifficulties, 53 overtime charter flights were successfully sent to evacuate around 12,000passengers and provide approximately 143 tones of supplies for the purposes of evacuation,disaster relief and peacekeeping. There was an accident in Sep.11, 1998. Chicago tribune reported “SHANGHAI, CHINA —Seven passengers were injured when a Chinese MD-11 airliner made an emergency landingThursday in Shanghai, an airline spokesman said. The passengers aboard the China EasternAirlines plane were hurt as they slid down the emergency chutes after the plane landed atShanghai’s international airport. The aircraft returned to Shanghai shortly after taking off forBeijing after the pilot discovered a problem with the front landing gear, the spokesman said.The MD-11 is the same type of plane that crashed Sept. 2 near Halifax, Nova Scotia, killing all229 people on board.”(1998). And today that accident be called “ the Chinese miracle on theHudson”. And there is a movie named “Crash Landing” was made by Shanghai Film Studiobased on that accident. Passenger source is Airline’s future. Every year CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration ofChina) has a voting that passages can choose which airline they prefer. In past five years, ChinaEastern Airline continues to hold “The Most Popular Airline”. Not only that, China EasternAirlines was awarded the “Flight Safety Five-star Award” from CAAC. They also ranked 14thin the “2011 Top 25 Most Innovative Companies in China” by Fortune Magazine (Chinese).And China Eastern Airline was ranked 24th among the “Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands”by a member of WPP, a world-leading brand communication service group. 5
  • 6. Corporate Communication and Reputation Audit On the other side, some passengers didn’t like China Eastern Airlines. For example, fromSkytrax survey (A United Kingdom-based consultancy, the public face of Inflight ResearchServices, which has one of the largest airline and airport review and ranking site. It conductsresearch for commercial airlines.) A passenger wrote, “Was a disappointing flight. 30 minutesdelay after we boarded the aircraft. FA’s served few cups of water after the takeoff and weren’tseen for the next 4 hours. Seat uncomfortably narrow with very little legroom. No individualIFE and movies were played repeatedly. A cold and tasteless sandwich served before landing.Overall, good value for the money but I will not fly this airline again.” I found that manypassages complained about legroom. That is problem of all Chinese airlines. I think there arethree reasons. First, there are more than 1500 million passengers travels by plane.But theairline only has 351 planes. The problem is service shortage. So they have two methods tosolve, buy more planes or double up on seating. Buy planes needs times. Then they havechosen latter. Second reason is that occidental taller than Asian. But some passengers enjoytheir travel. “I flew return Paris CDG-Shanghai-Fukouka, flights were on time. Aircraft new,luggage was checked all the way through from Paris-Fukuoka and arrived no problem. Stafffriendly. Paris to Shanghai flight had own entertainment station. There were a wide range ofEnglish films. Meals were good and comparable to other economy airline food. It was Chinesefood beef and noodles, pork and rice, seafood and rice, dim sum. What else would you expectfrom a Chinese airline.” I also found that many passengers like China Eastern Airline’sairplane food. That is good news. Because airplane food is that make people feeling cold andunpalatable. 6
  • 7. Corporate Communication and Reputation Audit When I was living in China. There is a lot of information about China Eastern Airline,specifically in spring festival travel season. Such as Xinhua News Agency:“ During the springfestival of 2011, China Eastern Airlines domestic flights will increase more than 2100 class,Hong Kong and Taiwan flights will increase to more than 150 classes, international flights willincrease by more than 900 classes, for a total increase and adjust the flight of more than 3,200classes. These flights focused on travel and return home hotspot city.”(2011). It is commonly believedthat China Eastern Airline is a socially responsible enterprise.They promise conservation of the environment, and focus on make contributions to the society.But in some ways, China Eastern Airline also need to improve. Here are some suggestions.First, they should listen attentively to junior employees, such as flight attendant andcustomer-service workers. Passengers often use different methods to complain airline. Junioremployees communicate with passenger every day. They are a reliable source ofinformation.Then I suggest that company could get collection information from junioremployees to help them planning strategy. Second I will suggest that the making variationservice brand objective. That means to attract more high-end passenger and to meet ordinarypassenger needs. For example, airline can provided comfortable airline seats and special foodsto first class passengers. Third, there is no doubt that keeps good communication andcooperation with media is very important. This requires company factual and transparentcommunications. When the company keeps higher transparent for social media, they willsuffer from heavier pressure. And that pressure help airline improve their service. All in all, China Eastern Airline is getting more prosperous year by year. China eastern 7
  • 8. Corporate Communication and Reputation Auditairline raise its service quality and improve its hardware facilities.In the future, China easternairline will become a premium airline that is globally competitive. 8