Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2011 Contents China’s Xiamen Airlines is expected to become
an official member of the SkyTeam global airline
alliance by December.
The airline’s application to join the alliance
was approved during a SkyTeam council meeting
in Singapore in June. The integration process,
including a safety audit on the airline, is now
Xiamen Airlines Deputy General Manager Zhao
Dong says the carrier decided to join a global
alliance to boost its presence in international
markets. “Gaining membership in SkyTeam is
[part of] our aim of turning the airline from a
regional player into an international carrier,”
Xiamen Airlines is 60 percent owned by China
Southern Airlines, which is already a member of
SkyTeam. The remaining 40 percent is owned by
Xiamen Construction Development Corp.
Based at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport,
Xiamen Airlines also has a hub at Fuzhou
Changle. The carrier plans to launch flights to
Europe and the US from Xiamen
and Fuzhou in 2014-2015, after
it takes delivery of six Boeing
787 twin-aisle twinjets ordered
Xiamen Airlines, which
was established in July 1984,
operates a fleet of 78 aircraft, including eight
Boeing 757-200s, 54 737-800s and 16 737-700s.
The carrier serves a network of 119 domestic and
20 international destinations. Zhao says that, if all
goes according to schedule, the airline’s fleet will
be expanded to 130 aircraft by 2015.
Xiamen Airlines received an 810 million yuan
(US$127.55 million) capital injection from China
Southern in December 2010 to finance fleet
expansion. The carrier posted sales of 6.6 billion
yuan for the first six months of this year, an
increase of 23.8 percent.
Zhao says international operations accounted
for only 10 percent of the revenue.
14 AsianAviation | OCTOBER 2011
Philippines low-cost carrier (LCC) Cebu
Pacific Air has signed an order for 30 re-
engined Airbus A321neo aircraft.
The contract firms up a previously
signed Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) in June. With the A321neos,
the airline has increased its total orders
for the A320 family to 71, of which 16
have already been delivered.
The A321neo will be configured
with 220 seats in a single-class layout.
Cebu Pacific will make a decision on the
engine selection at a later stage.
The new engine types offered for the
A320 neo family are CFM International’s
LEAP-X and Pratt & Whitney’s
PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan.
Cebu Pacific currently operates a
fleet of 25 A320-family aircraft, of
which nine are leased, alongside eight
ATR72-500 turboprops with an average
age of 3.5 years. Its network covers
34 domestic and 16 international
The airline will take delivery of 16
A320s between 2012 and 2014, and
plans to launch flights to Tokyo and
Nagoya in its winter schedule, starting in
October, as part of a plan to expand in
As Asian Aviation went to press,
the carrier was waiting to receive
approval from the Japanese civil aviation
authorities. Cebu Pacific will also add
flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and
Osaka. The carrier is a leader in the
Philippines’ domestic market, with a 47
percent share. – William Dennis
Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines will
launch flights to Sagaken in Japan in November
using Airbus A320 aircraft.
Sagaken will be the airline’s second Japanese
destination after Ibaraki, which was introduced
in July 2010. According to Spring Airlines
chairman Wang Zhenghua, the carrier is
evaluating ten other second-tier Japanese
“The Japanese market has tremendous
potential and is important for Chinese carriers
based in the Yangtze River Delta region,”
On average, Spring Airlines’ flights to Ibaraki
are filling up 95 percent of their available seats.
“This is encouraging and it is a clear indication
that there is strong demand for low-cost travel
in the Japanese market,” Wang notes.
Wang says the airline is now studying a
proposal to start a joint-venture low-cost
carrier (LCC) in Japan with a local partner.
“We are evaluating the plan seriously, but we
have to take into consideration that Spring
Airlines, being a foreign partner, is restricted
to holding a maximum 33 percent stake,”
The carrier is concerned that may not be
sufficient to influence management decisions
for the proposed airline. “Japan is very much
a protected market, so we have to look at
whether it would be feasible having the joint
venture with a stake of only 33 percent,”
Meanwhile, Spring Airlines says its plan for
an initial public offering (IPO) scheduled for the
first quarter of 2012 is on track. The company
hopes to raise US$1.2 billion from its listing on
the Shanghai Stock Exchange, to help finance
the purchase of new aircraft.
Based at Shanghai Hongqiao International
Airport, Spring Airlines will be the fifth Chinese
carrier to be listed. The others are: Air China,
China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines
and Hainan Airlines.
Spring Airlines, which operates 24 Airbus
A320 aircraft, hopes to double the size of its
fleet by 2015. Previous plans envisaged a fleet
of as many as 100 aircraft. – William Dennis
Xiamen Airlines to join SkyTeam
Spring Airlines expands in Japan, plans IPO
Xiamen Airlines to join SkyTeam
30/09/11 9:33 PM
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