Xiamen Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Seattle yesterday (22 May) expanding its fleet to 200 aircraft and meaning it has doubled its fleet size in the last five years.
The Chinese carrier only reached 100 aircraft in 2013, and has continued to grow by adding roughly 20 aircraft per year and doubling the size of the fleet within five years.
During the period, the airline’s operating profits also increased year by year, booking gross profits exceeding 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). The airline has been profitable for 31 consecutive years, reflecting the rapid growth in China’s civil aviation industry.
Xiamen Airlines chairman, Che Shanglun said the airline’s rapid growth was mainly attributable to the economic stimulus that resulted from China’s reform and opening up and the constant improvement in the living standard across China, which, in turn, led to the massive boost in the demand for air travel.
Over the past five years, the US, Europe and China recorded an average annual growth rate of roughly four per cent, six per cent and 10 per cent in civil aviation passenger volume, respectively, while Xiamen Airlines experienced an average growth rate of 15 per cent.
After expanding the fleet to 100 aircraft in 2013, Xiamen Airlines accelerated the move into international markets. The airline bought the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in August 2014 and launched the first intercontinental flight, between Xiamen and Amsterdam, in July 2015.
Over the following two years, the airline launched 10 intercontinental flights to cities across Europe, North America and Oceania, including Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Seattle, Sydney and Vancouver. All the intercontinental flights are now serviced by Boeing 787 aircraft.