Donghai Airlines have announced their intention to buy 30 new airplanes from Boeing ©Donghai Airlines
Donghai Airlines have announced their intention to buy 30 new airplanes from Boeing ©Donghai Airlines

Chinese airlines go on $7.4bn spending spree

18 July 2016

Chinese airliners have been splashing out on new aircraft as they look to expand their passenger capacity. 

China is expanding the its civil aviation infrastructure as part of its "Belt and Road Initiative", its plan to recreate the historic Silk Road trade route connecting it with Central Asia, Russia and Europe.

This year China claimed to have its largest participation in the Farnborough Airshow to date. The biannual airshow is an important showcasing event for the international aviation industry.

Among the announcements made by China Daily, a state run news agency, Kunming Airlines, a domestic carrier, is said to have signed an agreement with Boeing at the airshow to buy 10 new 737 Max passenger aircraft for an undisclosed sum.

Meanwhile Xiamen Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to buy 30 new Boeing 737 Max passenger planes estimated to be worth US$3.4bn. 

Donghai Airlines, predominantly a freight company is also said by China Daily to have signaled its intent to buy 25 Boeing 737 Max aircraft and five Boeing Dreamliners, potentially worth $4bn, as it expands its passenger capacity. 

"Under the Belt and Road Initiative, we will accelerate our fleet expansion plan to satisfy the rapidly growing air travel market and help build our home base at Shenzhen as the transportation hub for southern China," said Wong Cho-Bau, chairman of Donghai Airlines, in a statement.

The 737 Max is Boeing’s latest generation of aircraft due to go into commercial use next year. Boeing claim it is 8% more fuel efficient than its competition.

China Daily said China is hoping to build 300 new airports by 2020, roughly doubling its current capacity.

As well as aeroplane operators, a host of Chinese manufacturers were displaying wears at the airshow.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), a state owned company, took 90 orders of its short range ARJ21 plane potentially worth $2.3bn.

Comac is currently developing China’s first medium-hall commercial airplane.

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