China Southern Airlines has secured a 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) line of credit from state-owned China Construction Bank to help it in part with fleet expansion financing.

The SkyTeam alliance carrier says in a statement: "China Southern Airlines will be given a 20 billion yuan credit line for financial leasing, short-term loans in domestic and foreign currency, medium and long term loans, bill acceptance and discount, factoring service, assurance service, letter of credit and trade finance."

China Construction and other Chinese banks have been providing large credit lines to the country's airlines in recent months to help them with financing needs amid the global economic downturn.

Chinese airlines suffered last year from a drop in demand in the second half but demand has been increasing in recent months, particularly on the domestic side, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China says the industry returned to profitability in the first quarter of this year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news