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Over the past month we have reported several aircraft orders either signed or announced by China’s Hainan Air Group (HNA). They were significant individually, but when viewed collectively they clearly signal that HNA has decided to compete at the highest level of the main-deck freight business, with bases in both Shanghai (home of subsidiary all-cargo carrier Yangtze River Express) and Hong Kong (home of subsidiary combination carrier Hong Kong Airlines). Once all the freighters currently on order have been delivered, the fleets will be as follows:
- Yangtze River Express will operate at least ten 737-300Fs, five A330-200Fs, and (we believe) seven 747-400Fs
- Hong Kong Airlines will operate at least three 737-300Fs, three A330-200Fs, and six 777Fs. It is also rumored to be negotiating with Boeing for at least two 747-8Fs, but this is unconfirmed. (HKA will also have belly capacity available in thirty-two 787s, fifteen A350s, and some thirty A330s.)
This gives the Hainan Group a total of at least thirteen narrowbody and at least twenty-one widebody freighters, based in two of the most important airfreight hubs in the world. It also puts Hong Kong Airlines in direct competition with Cathay Pacific — one of the most well-run and deep-pocketed airlines in the world.
Those interested in a more in-depth analysis of the changes in China’s airfreight scene should attend the upcoming ACMG Workshop, May 2 & 3 in Atlanta. For more information, or to register, go to www.acmgworkshop.com