Business / Companies

Passenger flights to propel Yangtze River Airlines

By Wang Wen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-15 10:49

Passenger flights to propel Yangtze River Airlines

A Yangtze River Airlines jet on the tarmac in Shanghai.[Provided to China Daily]

Yangtze River Airlines Co Ltd, the Shanghai-based freight subsidiary of HNA Group is entering the passenger traffic segment with its first passenger service set to start on Tuesday.

The airlines' first passenger traffic route is from Shanghai to Sanya, Hainan province, and it will also open another two routes from Shanghai to Zhuhai, Guangdong province, and Guiyang in Guizhou province, said Yang Zhihua, passenger traffic president of Yangtze River Airlines.

"Huge demand is the main reason why Yangtze River Airlines is expanding its business into passenger traffic," Yang added.

The carrier got its second Boeing 737-800 aircraft for passenger traffic on Dec 13 and more Boeing 737 aircraft will be delivered next year. It currently runs 26 air freighters on more than 40 domestic and international routes.

Yangtze River Airlines said it plans to operate about 20 wide-body passenger aircraft on domestic and international routes, Yang said.

But the weak air cargo business may be another reason for the carrier's transformation, some experts said.

Statistics from the International Air Transportation Association showed that global air freight demand increased just 1.9 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, while passenger traffic demand was up 6.7 percent.

"Weak cargo performance reflects sluggish growth in trade," IATA said in its statement and forecast that cargo demand will grow 3 percent in 2016.

The global air cargo industry has been depressed for several years and some freight carriers have gone bankrupt.

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