Chinese aviation has certainly come a long way in the past 30 years or so - see my history of Chinese airline development. I have a vague fondness for the original Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) airline as their 747SPs (hello Gemini wakey wakey) were regular visitors to London Gatwick when I was a kid.
Still the creation of some competition and the 6 initial separate regional airlines (China Eastern, Southern, Southwest, Northern, Northwest and Air China) in 1987 was a major step forward for Chinese aviation which hasn't looked back since. CAAC itself didn't have the best reputation hence the spurious acronym in the blog title - one of several that existed at the time!
CAAC was formed after World War Two to manage all non-military aviation and provide all commercial flight service. The fleet initially consisted of Russian types but in 1963 China departed from its Marxist stance and purchased six Viscounts. These were followed by the purchase of four PIA Tridents and then in 1971 a direct order for six new Trident 2Es. In December 1973 China even borrowed from foreign banks to finance the purchase of 15 further Tridents. Eventually over 30 would be operated including a pair of Trident 3Bs which had an extended range of 692 miles further than standard 3Bs. B-270 was the second of these and joined the Chinese Air Force as 50058 in late 1981. Operated by China United Airlines from June 1990 she was stored in October 1992.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China became a 737 operator in February 1983 when the first of 16 737-200s were delivered. These were swiftly followed by 8 series 300s of which B-2517 was the first. In late 1987 the airline division of CAAC was split up into 6 separate airlines and its fleet spread between them.
CAAC subsequently ordered large numbers of 737-300/500s for these airlines. B-2517 became part of the fleet of China Southwest and then Air China but was still in her CAAC colours as late as 1993. She then joined China Yunnan Airlines who were merged into China Eastern in 2003. She was repainted into China Eastern colours but was released in August 2006 when she was converted to a freighter for Donghai Airlines with whom she still serves.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: