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Based at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport with an additional hub at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, Sichuan Airlines is owned by a consortium including the Sichuan provincial government and China Southern Airlines. The carrier operates an extensive network of domestic services within China.
Location of Sichuan Airlines main hub (Chengdu Airport)
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Airbus Tianjin to complete final assembly on 11 A320s in 2013, Sichuan Airlines to receive the first
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Australia needs to urgently negotiate expanded international air capacity which is constraining access to services from some of the country’s most important markets in Asia along with the United Arab Emirates. Capacity for several Asian markets, including China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, is fully utilised by carriers from those countries which are important source markets for both tourism and trade.
The Australian Government is being criticised for not negotiating new bilateral capacity to keep pace with demand. Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff said at the Australian Airports Association convention in Nov-2012: “These agreements provide the framework in which we can go out to the international market and attract new air services to meet the increasing demand for travel to and from Australia. The Government needs to lead from the front on this issue. Our bilateral agreements need to provide plenty of capacity for future growth in passenger numbers.”
The North American market continues to outperform for Chinese airlines, a result of high demand and more limited competition than on European routes. In addition to Air China's forthcoming Beijing-Houston service, the carrier will add another four weekly services to New York JFK. A decade ago Air China had only a three times weekly Beijing-New York service, reflecting the rise of China as both a country and aviation market.
Air China's 2013 capacity to North America will be 183% greater than in 2003 and is quickly closing in on United Airlines' position as the largest carrier between North America and China.
In China it is not just the flagship and government-preferred Air China looking to expand. Hainan Airlines last year announced a Beijing-Chicago service to start in Mar-2013 with Boeing 787s. Following delayed Chinese certification of the 787 – which was stalling well before the aircraft's Jan-2013 grounding – Hainan has pushed the launch back to Sep-2013 and plans, for now, to operate the service with A330-200s.
The route marks the first high-profile long-haul route for Hainan Airlines, which has faced route restrictions as the government seeks to protect incumbents.
The recent history of Australia's two main airports – Melbourne and Sydney – has been one of Melbourne being on the offensive to capture traffic that went to Sydney by default while Sydney sat back, even as its growth lagged that of its competitor. But that is no more. A revitalised Sydney airport, with the backing of a new government, is out to hold its place. That was evident at last week's annual Routes Asia forum where both Melbourne and Sydney took the opportunity to announce respective strategic partnerships to drum up support.
Xiamen Airlines, China's sixth largest carrier and the world's 27th largest by available seat kilometres, is gearing up for more forays into the international market. Xiamen is predominately a domestic carrier with only 5.7% of available seats allocated to international services. Xiamen in May-2011 ordered six Boeing 787s for services to Europe and North America after their 2014/15 delivery dates. But international expansion, albeit medium-haul and not long-haul, can commence earlier with the carrier retrofitting its 757s with a three-class configuration, including having lie-flat beds in first class.
Sichuan Airlines is joining the growing list of second-tier Chinese carriers which are setting their sights on the long-haul international market. Sichuan Airlines general manager Li Haiying, as quoted by Carnoc.com this month, stated the carrier’s international network expansion would take off next year, supported by the carrier’s A330-200 fleet, leased from AerCap.
Sichuan Airlines commenced international services in 2007 and now operates a network of nine Southeast Asian destinations. Destinations in its network include Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Phuket, Saipan, Seoul Incheon, Taichung, Tapei Songshan and Taipei Taoyuan. The carrier operates only within Asia at present, with around 11,600 seats deployed on these services per week. It plans to expand this network profile considerably to include destinations in Europe, North America and Australia.
Chengdu-based Sichuan Airlines, China’s seventh largest airline, like many of its ambitious peers, will continue its impressive growth trajectory in the coming years. It plans to expand its fleet to 100 aircraft and grow its assets and revenues to CNY10 billion (USD1.57 billion) by the end of 2015.
Sichuan Airlines, an affiliate of China Southern Airlines, is adding 13 Airbus aircraft in 2011, and has 18 more A320s scheduled for delivery from Airbus through 2014. The carrier also signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for eight additional aircraft, comprising two A319s, four A320s and two A321s on 29-Nov-2011, adding to its fleet total. Four aircraft will be delivered in 2014 and the remaining four will be delivered in 2015, according to Carnoc reports.
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