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APRIL 2017

Week 17


HNA’s Shenniao Airlines achieves certification milestone

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April 21st 2017

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HNA Group’s latest carrier, Chengdu-based Shenniao Airlines (‘sacred bird’), has received launch approvals from China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC), bringing it one step closer to obtaining an air operator’s certificate from the Mainland aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Read More »

Shenniao has a registered capital of 3 billion yuan (US$435 million), with sister carrier Lucky Air holding a 35% stake, Yunnan Lucky Investment Co. owning a 45% stake and Chengdu Communications Investment Group holding the remaining 20%.

Shenniao would be the ninth carrier based in Chengdu, following Air China’s southwestern branch which is currently adding narrow and wide body capacity, Sichuan Airlines which now has more than 110 Airbus aircraft and smaller operations at Lucky Air, Shenzhen Airlines’ local branch, Tibet Airlines, Chengdu Airlines and the local branches of China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

Air China and Sichuan Airlines hold close to 60% of the Chengdu market, but Lucky Air, which now has a 3% market share only, has confirmed long-haul low-cost operations launching in June.

Lucky Air has received an A330-300 from sister carrier Hainan Airlines for twice-weekly flights to Moscow from June 9 and it plans to add at least another two A330s this year for potential flights from Chengdu to the U.S. West Coast. Hainan launched a twice-weekly Chengdu-Los Angeles B787 route last month.

It remains unclear at this stage when Shenniao might be allowed to commence operations. Currently, ten Mainland carriers are waiting to have their AOCs approved by the CAAC. The regulator frequently puts a freeze on new applications to cool the market.

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is operating above its design capacity. A new airport, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, is under construction and scheduled to open in 2020 at a cost of 70 billion yuan.

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