Okay Airways has 1% of Chinese market; Boeing order will help it grow
Okay Airways currently ranks as China’s 17th biggest domestic airline. With a mixed fleet of 12 737-800s and 12 MA-60 turboprop aircraft the carrier accounts for almost exactly 1% of seat capacity in the Chinese domestic market. Based on analysis of Innovata schedule data, Okay Airways has grown its seat capacity by 17.3% in the last 12 months, well above the national average of 10.3%. During that time it has expanded its route network from 51 to 70 routes. Of these, just three are international routes; from Chongqing and Changsha to Jeju in South Korea and from Tianjin to Bangkok. Later this month, a further route to Jeju is expected to launch, this time from Nanjing.
Tianjin and Changsha are two biggest bases
At present, Okay Airways operates from 48 airports, of which 46 are in China. The airline’s two biggest bases are Tianjin Binhai International Airport (which handled 10.0 million passengers in 2013) and Changsha Huanghua International Airport (16.0 million passengers in 2013). These are the only two airports at which the airline serves more than six destinations non-stop.
New Boeings ordered
In July of this year, the airline announced an order for six 737 MAX 8s and four Next-Generation 737-800s. In addition, it announced that it would convert five 737-800s from a previous order into 737-900ERs. Okay Airways will be the first airline in China to operate the 737-900ER and has eight of the airplanes on order. The airline’s CEO Liu Weining said, “The 737 is the backbone of our fleet and has fuelled our growth with its proven reliability and efficiency. The addition of the new 737 MAX airplanes will help us explore new regional markets, while strengthening our existing domestic routes.”