Chinese air traffic up 11% in first 11 months of 2013; 29 international links to be launched in first half of 2014

Of the five US services that are scheduled to be launched from China in the first half of 2014, Air China was the first carrier with its thrice-weekly flights from Beijing to Honolulu on 21 January. In addition, other links from China to San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington Dulles and Boston will be inaugurated by United Airlines, American Airlines, Air China and Hainan Airlines.

Examination of data facilitated by the Civil Aviation Administration China (CAAC) indicates that the Chinese carriers achieved 326 million (+11%) passengers until end-November 2013. In fact, over 300 million passengers were carried on domestic flights in the first 11 months of 2013, a double-digit increase of 11% over the corresponding period in 2012. Furthermore, in the same timeframe, the number of passengers served by Chinese airlines on international services noted 14% growth, reaching just over 24 million in the first 11 months of last year. Overall, 2013 was not a bad year for the Chinese carriers, as the average load factor slightly improved by 0.1% to 81.5%.

Chinese airlines traffic development Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/07 to 11/13

Source: Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)

Domestic capacity slightly increases by 0.6%

Analysis of Innovata schedule data for February reveals that weekly domestic capacity has slightly increased by 0.6% when comparing data from 18-24 February with the same week last year, with all the three primary Chinese airlines growing their seat capacities by 0.9%, 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. Nonetheless, the fastest growing carriers are the Haikou-based Hainan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines, the first privately-owned airline in China, both of which have experienced 1.6% growth in weekly domestic capacity. Surprisingly, the country’s low-cost carriers, Spring Airlines and China United Airlines, saw their operations unchanged when compared to 2013 figures. On the other hand, the airline that appears to have recorded the greatest decrease in weekly seats is Tianjin Airlines (-2.3%).

Airline Seats
(Feb 14)
Seats Share (Feb 14) Seats  (Feb 13) Seats Share (Feb 13) Seats  (Feb 14 vs Feb 13)
China Southern Airlines 1,792,760 20.6% 1,776,696 20.6% 0.9%
China Eastern Airlines 1,411,108 16.2% 1,407,842 16.3% 0.2%
Air China 1,107,516 12.7% 1,104,453 12.8% 0.3%
Hainan Airlines 638,807 7.3% 628,726 7.3% 1.6%
Shenzhen Airlines 606,671 7.0% 601,667 7.0% 0.8%
Sichuan Airlines 453,107 5.2% 451,095 5.2% 0.4%
Xiamen Airlines 452,424 5.2% 445,439 5.2% 1.6%
Shandong Airlines 396,261 4.6% 395,764 4.6% 0.1%
Tianjin Airlines 263,438 3.0% 269,604 3.1% -2.3%
Shanghai Airlines 240,946 2.8% 239,144 2.8% 0.8%
Beijing Capital Airlines 228,951 2.6% 227,324 2.6% 0.7%
Spring Airlines 177,012 2.0% 177,012 2.0% 0.0%
Juneyao Airlines 159,823 1.8% 159,042 1.8% 0.5%
Lucky Air 138,694 1.6% 136,650 1.6% 1.5%
China United Airlines 117,258 1.3% 117,258 1.4% 0.0%
China West Air 106,148 1.2% 105,432 1.2% 0.7%
Others 401,134 4.6% 400,423 4.6% 0.2%
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 18 February 2014 and w/c 19 February 2013.

29 new international routes in the first half of 2014 to and from China

According to’s research, 29 new international routes will be inaugurated to and from China in the first half of this year. So far, 2014 saw the launch of 14 services, including Air China adding its first route to Hawaii on 21 January. Moreover, both Lucky Air and Okay Airways launched their first international routes from Kunming to Singapore on 25 January and from Tianjin to Jeju on 31 January respectively.

A total of five routes are expected to be launched to US destinations during the course of the first half of 2014, by Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Hainan and Air China, with the latter commencing four times weekly flights to Washington Dulles this summer. Despite the current on-going issues between the EU and China in terms of the inclusion of aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme, Air China is launching three services to Vienna, Barcelona and Munich from Beijing this year. Furthermore, due to Hainan taking a 48% stake in Aigle Azur in 2012, the French carrier is looking forward to launching its first long-haul service to China with thrice-weekly flights from Paris Orly on 28 June.

Launch From (code) To (code) Airline WF (Type)
2 January Da Nang (DAD) Nanjing (NKG) Vietnam Airlines 2 (A321)
7 January Taipei Songshan (TSA) Shanghai Pudong (PVG) UNI Air 3 (A321)
15 January Shenzhen (SZX) Jeju (CJU) China Southern Airlines 2 (A320)
Beijing (PEK) Denpasar (DPS) Hainan Airlines 3 (763)
17 January Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) Weihai (WEH) China Airlines 1 (738)
20 January Shenzhen (SZX) Denpasar (DPS) China Southern Airlines 2 (A320)
21 January Beijing (PEK) Honolulu, HI (HNL) Air China 3 (A332)
22 January Shenzhen (SZX) Kota Kinabalu (BKI) China Southern Airlines 2 (A321)
24 January Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) Changsha (CSX) Thai AirAsia 7 (A320)
25 January Kunming (KMG) Singapore (SIN) Lucky Air 2 (737)
28 January Taipei Songshan (TSA) Tianjin (TSN) Far Eastern Air Transport 2 (MD83)
31 January Tianjin (TSN) Jeju (CJU) Okay Airways 2 (738)
1 February Shanghai Pudong (PVG) Chiang Mai (CNX) China Eastern Airlines 2 (A320)
18 February Taipei Songshan (TSA) Fuzhou (FOC) Mandarin Airlines 2 (738)
21 February Chiang Mai (CNX) Hangzhou (HGH) Thai AirAsia 7 (A320)
24 February Weihai (WEH) Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) Shandong Airlines 2 (738)
15 March Shanghai Pudong (PVG) Osaka Kansai (KIX) Spring Airways 7 (A320)
29 March Addis Ababa (ADD) Shanghai Pudong (PVG) Ethiopian Airlines 7 (788)
30 March Hong Kong (HKG) Tianjin (TSN) Hong Kong Airlines 4 (A320)
14 April Honolulu, HI (HNL) Beijing (PEK) Hawaiian Airlines 3 (A330)
5 May Beijing (PEK) Vienna (VIE) Air China 4 (A333)
Barcelona (BCN)
3 June Vladivostok (VVO) 4 (738)
6 June Shanghai Pudong (PVG) Munich (MUC) 4 (A332)
9 June San Francisco, CA (SFO) Chengdu (CTU) United Airlines 3 (788)
10 June Beijing (PEK) Washington Dulles, DC (IAD) Air China 4 (773)
11 June Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) Shanghai Pudong (PVG) American Airlines 7 (772)
20 June Beijing (PEK) Boston, MA (BOS) Hainan Airlines 4 (788)
28 June Paris Orly (ORY) Beijing (PEK) Aigle Azur 3 (A330)
Source: New Route Database.

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