China Eastern to expand fleet to over 800 planes by 2020
China Eastern Airlines plans to expand its fleet of aircraft to more than 800 by 2020, up from 561 as of the end of 2015
The plans to acquire hundreds of new planes come as China Eastern seeks to boost long-haul traffic to and from the United States after a US$450 million equity deal with Delta Air Lines Inc last year. Delta agreed to buy 3.55 percent of China Eastern, becoming the first U.S. carrier to own part of a Chinese airline.
Code-share routes between the two carriers have now topped 400, compared to about around 300 previously, including routes in respective domestic markets, Ma said.
Spurred by growing demand for overseas travel, Chinese airlines are adding flights to New York, Paris and Sydney from inland cities and flying to smaller cities in North America, Europe and Australia.
Seats offered by Chinese carriers exceeded those offered by American carriers last year for the first time, fuelling worries about overcapacity and falling yields.
In March 3, China Eastern converted its Beijing-based full service carrier, China United Air, to a budget carrier, making it the first state carrier to tap the booming low-cost flying potential.
When asked whether China Eastern would bring more outside investors after Delta, he said: "We always keep an open mind about investors".
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