China Southern Airlines says its group fleet will reach 1,000 aircraft over the next four years.
The Guangzhou-based carrier and its subsidiaries currently operate 700 aircraft. By 2020, it expects to have a fleet of 1,000, with passenger numbers hitting 160 million.
Its long-haul fleet is currently helmed by the Airbus A380, the Boeing 777-300ER, 787-8 and A330. The A320 and 737 are meanwhile used for its domestic and southeast Asia network.
The SkyTeam carrier says that over the next five years, its fleet will be adjusted based on its network requirements and dependent on the aircraft’s suitability, flexibility, and economics. It will retire and sell off older types, while continuing to purchase new generation aircraft such as the 787-9, 737 Max and A320neo.
It adds that the Nansha free-trade zone in Guangdong province will also aid in the airline’s fleet expansion. It recently took two A321s on lease from a Kunlun Financial Leasing unit set up in the free trade zone.
China Southern is the largest carrier by fleet size in China. Some subsidiaries in the group include Xiamen Airlines, Chongqing Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.