China Southern Airlines plans to more than double the size of its fleet to 2,000 aircraft by 2035 and is exploring ways to cooperate with low-cost carriers, Reuters quoted the airline's chief executive, Tan Wan Geng, as saying.
Mr Tan who was a speaker at the World Routes conference in Guangzhou, China earlier this week, said that China's largest carrier by passenger numbers is also looking to fly to South America within the next three years. He added that the carrier has identified several target destinations that it intends to reach from its dual hubs at Guangzhou Baiyun International and the Beijing airport - a strategy that he says will be key to its success. Beijing new Daxing International airport is expected to have a capacity of 72 million passengers in its first phase.
Tremendous fleet growth announced
Tan also indicated that China Southern will look to more destinations in Africa, which he says is in line with China’s “One Belt, One Road” policy to deepen commercial relations with its closest allies. The carrier currently flies to Nairobi from Guangzhou.
"We plan to have 1,000 aircraft by 2020 and by 2035 it will increase to 2,000," he was quoted as saying.
The company said last month that it had a fleet of 786 aircraft, including 12 B777 freighters, at the end of June.
Upping the share of widebodies
Industry publication Flight Global quoted Tan as saying at the same conference that the carrier will look to increase its percentage of widebody aircraft from the current 12% to 15% by 2020.
China Southern currently has orders for 14 Airbus A320/A321neos, as well as 20 A350-900s, 14 Boeing 787-9s and 42 737 Max 8s.
U.S. planemaker Boeing predicted last week that Chinese airlines will buy 7,690 new planes worth US$1.2 trillion over the next two decades, higher than previously forecast.
Nol van Fenema