Shenzhen cargo carrier to launch passenger operations
SHENZHEN, China - A cargo airline based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has been given permission to launch passenger operations.
According to a statement on the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) website, Donghai Airlines has been approved to expand its scope of business to include domestic passenger services. Currently Donghai Airlines operates eight cargo aircraft on domestic and international freight routes.
It now plans to purchase three Boeing 737-800 passenger jets in February or March next year, before expanding its fleet to 15 passenger jets in 2016. The carrier will mainly operate scheduled flights from Shenzhen’s Bao’an International Airport.
Donghai Airlines is now recruiting cabin crew and developing IT infrastructure to cater for its passenger services, which could take to the skies as early as the first quarter of 2014.
According to the company’s website, Donghai Airlines was founded in 2002 and was the first private cargo airline partly owned by foreign investor.
It becomes the latest in a series of new passenger airlines to be launched in China since government regulations on the creation of new carriers were relaxed earlier this year. Other new entries into the market in the coming months and years will include Sutong Airlines, Ruili Airlines, Urumqi Airlines, Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines.