Central Airlines nears Chinese AOC

A picture on Central Airlines’ website gives a hint as to what its 737-300Fs will look like. (Photo: Central Airlines)

Zhengzhou-based startup carrier Central Airlines (“Zhongzhou” in Mandarin) is one step closer to launch. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a notice on Dec. 18 saying that it had received the carrier’s application for an AOC and that all preparatory work at the carrier had been completed. This is seen as the final step before the granting of the AOC.

The establishment of Central Airlines as a company was approved by the CAAC in February 2019. The carrier plans to operate both domestic and international routes from Zhengzhou (CGO), and the introduction of three 737-300Fs has already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, with the first (25998, ex-Suparna Airlines) having arrived at CGO in November.

According to the CAAC, Central Airlines will be assigned the IATA code I9. The carrier has already signed labor contracts with 16 pilots, 10 mechanics and three dispatchers.

While the two remaining 737-300Fs have not yet been publicly identified by either the CAAC or Central Airlines itself, Cargo Facts wouldn’t be surprised if they are also sourced from Suparna Airlines, which has a number of seemingly inactive 737-300Fs. Alternatively, Central Airlines could acquire 737-300Fs from China Postal Airlines, which is renewing its fleet with 737-800Fs.

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