Hong Kong-based regional carrier CR Airways has inked a memorandum of understanding with Boeing for the purchase of 10 787 widebodies and 30 737-800 narrowbodies.

Boeing confirms in a brief statement that a preliminary agreement has been signed with the carrier, which currently only has three Bombardier regional jets, mainly serving secondary destinations in China.

A signing ceremony was held in Hong Kong this evening for the purchase of the Boeing aircraft. The manufacturer says the MoU specifically covers 10 787s and 30 737-800s and that “the order is expected to be completed in 2006”.


CR Airways has yet to say what it plans to do with the aircraft. The planned order comes as China’s fourth-largest airline, Hainan Airlines, is looking to buy into CR Airways. A CR Airways executive told Air Transport Intelligence last week that some of the Boeing aircraft it planned to order would be those already on order by Hainan.

Industry sources have said that Hainan is seeking to acquire 60% of CR Airways but there are questions about whether this will be possible due to ownership and control restrictions in bilateral air services agreements.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China but it negotiates its own air services accords with other countries and these generally specify that its airlines must be effectively owned and controlled by Hong Kong nationals.

CR Airways is wholly owned by Hong Kong businessman Robert Yip, who is a key shareholder in a company known as China Rich Holdings.

Source: Flight International