Okay Airways, a Chinese start-up set to be the country's first private- sector airline, has received its first aircraft and aims to launch domestic passenger services this month.

This new airline, which is based in Beijing's port city of Tianjin, received an aviation carrier business licence from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in February, says a source at Okay Airways. The first of two Boeing 737-900s has arrived on sublease from Korean Air and Boeing Capital, with "OKAIR.net" branding. Boeing's office in China says Okay Airways will start with charter passenger services and then expand into scheduled passenger and dedicated cargo services.

Okay Airways is eyeing passenger routes from Tianjin to Chinese cities such as Changsha, Guilin, Harbin, Hohhot, Kunming, Taiyuan and Zhang Jiajie, says Boeing.

Okay Airways' backers are Xinjiang Qili Investment, Ao'kai Investment Development and Beijing Qili Logistics.

Okay's forthcoming launch is significant because it will be China's first private sector airline since the country became communist in 1949 and the first in recent years to get a licence from the CAAC. China's commercial aviation market is dominated by government-backed airlines, so Okay could pave the way for others.


Source: Flight International