The most notable characteristic of Chinese regional airlines may be that they always want to be something else. Planning to step up to mainline domestic operations sooner or later is routine. In one case, an Embraer regional-jet operator spoke confidently of how it would soon begin flying intercontinentally with widebody aircraft. And it did. Still, the country will keep starting up new regional airlines, encouraged by subsidies from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), local ...

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