Organizational learning, operating costs and airline consolidation policy in the Chinese airline industry

Kong Wing, Clement CHOW, Wai Hong Kan TSUI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated and reviewed organizational learning in the Chinese airline industry, which is dominated by state-owned or state-controlled airlines. This empirical research focused on the extensive scale of airline mergers and acquisitions among 12 Chinese airlines for the period of 1996–2014. This research aims to make a contribution towards addressing the general lack of academic reflection on the impact of organizational learning on airline performance during and after the completion of mergers and acquisitions. The empirical findings of this paper suggested that there was, in general, organizational learning experienced by Chinese airlines from their prior operating experience in improving operating costs. However, airline mergers in 2001/02 increased airlines' average operating costs, as most state-owned airlines are notorious for poor cost management. Significantly, the performance improvement among Chinese airlines was found during the post-merger periods in this study, and the increase in Chinese airlines’ operating costs during the post-acquisition periods due to the limited integration of 2010 acquisition compared with the 2001/02 mergers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Airline mergers and acquisitions
  • Operating costs
  • Operating experience
  • Organizational learning
  • Post-acquisition periods
  • Post-merger periods


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