MIAMI — Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines has finalized a deal to purchase eight Boeing 777-300(ER)s and 30 737 MAX 8, worth $5.65 billion.
This deal joins an already-existing order of 12 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $3.2 billion, which was formalized 12 months ago. Boeing plans to begin delivering these Dreamliners between 2018 and 2020.
The Chinese carrier also signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 A350-900s earlier in April, valued at $6 billion. The airline operates one of the largest Airbus fleets in the world with more than 300 Airbus aircraft in service, comprising the A320 Family, the A330 Family, and five A380s.
Considered Asia’s largest airline by size, China Southern boasts a massive fleet of 546 aircraft. Currently, the airline operates 10 Boeing 777-300(ER) and 180 737-700/800. The new 777s and 737 MAX 8s are expected join the fleet between 2019 and 2020.
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According to Reuters, China Southern made the announcement today at the Hong Kong stock exchange filing, where the airline’s strategy to grow its two-hub operation was disclosed. These planes “will boost the firm’s competitiveness in the market,” said the airline at the event.
China Southern currently operates two major hubs at Guangzhou and Beijing-Capital. However, once the new Beijing Airport opens in October 2019, the airline plans to relocate to what should become the world’s largest airport.
Even though the new Beijing Airport will initially operate with a capacity of 45 million passengers per year, it is being constructed to sustain a capacity of up to 100 million passengers per year.
Located about 42 miles from Beijing’s city center, the new airport will be better connected through high-speed rail and a dedicated motorway.
Both China Southern and its competitor, China Eastern, will relocate to this new airport. It is expected that these two airlines will provide 80% of the airport’s total traffic for the first five years.