LONDON – China Southern Airlines has this week unveiled a significant growth strategy at the World Routes Conference 2018.

The carrier is aiming to double the size of its fleet by 2035 and is exploring ways to cooperate with competitors.

The airline wants at least 2,000 aircraft in its fleet by 2035, with the target of 1,000 by 2020 looking achievable.

They currently have a fleet of 786 aircraft.

Tan Wangeng, the CEO, told conferences at World Routes that he looks to fly to South American destinations in the next three years.

“By 2020 there will be 200 million outbound tourists from China. This provides us with a lot of opportunities for development,”

We plan to have 1,000 aircraft by 2020 and by 2035 it will increase to 2,000″.

Wangeng also said to the conference that he is looking at establishing more joint ventures with competitors.

“All major airlines need partners and we are looking into the possibility of establishing more joint ventures. We haven’t tried with low-cost carriers yet, but we are considering how to cooperate with them”.

China Southern’s main competitors are China Eastern and Air China who have been receiving significant numbers of aircraft on a rapid basis.

It is understood that they are using these aircraft to expand its market share both domestically and internationally.

Boeing, as a result of this intense competition, had to increase its forecast for Chinese airlines.

It now predicts that over the next 20 years, 7,690 planes will be needed in China alone, valued at $1.2 trillion overall.

It will be interesting to see whether China Southern achieves the target of 1,000 by 2020, given the fact that it is less than 18 months until that point.

The industry will no doubt be looking at where they aim to expand to next with these new aircraft.