CAAC began operating scheduled domestic flights to cities in China in 1949. In 1962, CAAC began operating international services, initially to other countries in the Communist bloc. By the mid-1980s, CAAC had long-haul service to the USA, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
In 1987, CAAC’s airline operations split into 6 separate airlines each named after the geographic region of the location of their headquarters and main operation areas:
* Air China (which inherited the IATA and ICAO code of the original CAAC);
* China Southwest Airlines (merged with Air China in 2002, originally based in Chengdu);
* China Eastern Airlines (based in Shanghai);
* China Northwest Airlines (merged with China Eastern in 2002, originally based in Xi’an);
* China Southern Airlines (based in Guangzhou);
* China Northern Airlines (merged with China Southern in 2003, based in Shenyang).