The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) granted initial approval for the launch of service later this year by YTO Express Airlines.
According to data from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, express companies in the country delivered 9.2 billion packages in 2013, up 61.6% over 2012. This raised the average annual growth rate over the last five years to 43.5%, and makes China the world’s second largest express market, behind only the US.
Shanghai-based YTO Express is one of China’s largest express operators, delivering close to 1.5 billion packages in 2013, and the company has wanted for some time to follow in the footsteps of China Post and Shenzhen-based SF Express, and operate its own airline.
YTO applied for an operating certificate late last year, and with approval now in hand, has already hired the first group of pilots, and says YTO Express Airlines will launch service this year from a base at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH). The carrier s expected to start domestic and international operations with four freighter-converted 737-300 and/or -400 aircraft (source unknown), growing the fleet to fifteen freighters over the next three years.
YTO Express Airlines will have registered capital of RMB 400 million (US$64.6 million), 90% of which will come from Shanghai-based YTO Express Group, with the other 10% coming from two individuals, Yu Huijiao and Zhang Xiaojuan. It reportedly will be led by Su Xiufeng, former CEO of Zheijian Loong Airlines.
YTO Express says that while the bulk of its shipments move on the ground, it currently uses leased-in and charter lift to ship packages on 760 flights daily, to/from 76 airports.