In a surprise move, China's cargo carrier Yangtze River Express Airlines has applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for permission to expand its operations into the passenger market.
The Shanghai-based airline, which was founded in 2002 and has a fleet of 23 freighters, including 20 Boeing 737Fs and three Boeing 747Fs, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the HNA Group.
Until now, the CAAC has granted Yangtze River Express rights to operate both domestic and international cargo services, but the carrier said it wants to expand its business scope to cover domestic and international passenger services. The application did not specify what type of passenger aircraft would be used for the services if CAAC would approve the application.
The Department of Air Transportation of CAAC has begun soliciting public comments on the application until July 15, 2015.
Nol van Fenema