China Southern Airlines Plans To Grow Fleet To 2,000 Planes By 2035

China Southern Airlines is one of China’s many airlines. The airline has ambitious plans to grow its fleet by more than double by 2035.

China Southern Airlines is one of China’s largest airlines. The airline operates out of Beijing and Guangzhou with secondary hubs in Shanghai, Chongqing, and Ürümqi. The airline currently has a fleet of 786 aircraft according to a recent interim report. This is mostly made up of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, however, the airline also has an order for 20 of the Chinese made Comac C919. The size of the airline’s fleets makes it one of the biggest airlines by fleet size in the world.

China Southern has placed an order for 20 C919 aircraft. Photo: Ken Chen

Huge Ambitions

China Southern has huge ambitions when it comes to its expansion plans. It plans to operate a fleet of 1000 by 2020. That means acquiring a further 200 aircraft in two years. It then wants to double this number to a fleet of 2000 by 2035. The airline justified this number by citing growing outbound tourist numbers. Tan Wangeng, the airline’s chief executive commented “By 2020 there will be 200 million outbound tourists from China. This provides us with a lot of opportunities for development”.

The airline is also looking at how it can improve its business offering to attract more customers. The airline is looking to fly to South America within the next three years. Additionally Mr Wangeng suggested that the airline is looking to partner up with some low cost airlines. They compete against these for market share in China and Southeast Asia. Tan said “All major airlines need partners and we are looking into the possibility of establishing more joint ventures. We haven’t tried with low-cost carriers yet, but we are considering how to cooperate with them”

China Southern A350
Deliveries of China Southern’s A350-900 aircraft should begin in 2019. Image: Airbus

Which Aircraft

It’s unclear which aircraft the airline would use to reach this figure of 2000. However, it would likely be made up of a mix of aircraft, similar to its current fleet. Last week Boeing predicted that Chinese carriers would purchase 7,690 aircraft over the next two decades. The American Manufacturer went on to say the new aircraft would be worth $1.2 trillion.

With the Chinese aerospace industry growing at a rapid pace, there is always the chance that Chinese aircraft could be part of this figure. The Comac C919 is expected to enter commercial service with China Eastern Airlines in 2021. There are over 1,000 orders for the C919, with most of these coming from Chinese carriers. With this in mind, it is the perfect aircraft to boost its domestic operations. The C919 has a range of 4075km, with the ER edition boosting that to 5555km. Comac is also planning to release a long range aircraft dubbed the C929. This aircraft has an expected first flight of 2023 with an entry into service predicted for 2025-2028.

C919 Range
The range of the C919 and C919ER from Beijing Capital airport. Image GCMap

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