Spring Airlines’ international ambition takes flight after IPO
Spring Airlines CEO Zhenghua Wang harbors big plans to expand far beyond Asia, aiming to make his budget airline as successful as US giant Southwestern Airlines.
ChinaTravelNews–Following its IPO, Spring Airlines CEO Zhenghua Wang harbors big plans to expand far beyond Asia, aiming to apply his thrifty approach to make his budget airline as successful as US giant Southwestern Airlines.
Having made Spring Airlines famous by releasing special tickets priced at RMB9, RMB99 and RMB199 on each flight with its “99 pricing campaign”, Mr Wang manages to distinguish Spring Airlines from others but has also gained the reputation as a maverick of the industry.
Spring Airlines boasts an original profit model, operating a fleet of 48 A380 aircraft for a network of 88 domestic and international destinations. Mr. Wang is eager to upgrade his fleet to Boeing aircraft and show the world that big dreams could lead to big business.
An alternative airline
Spring Airline’s IPO on January 21 made it the first Chinese low-cost carrier (LCC) and the fifth domestic carrier to go public. Its RMB18.16 offering price was a record among Chinese carriers and far higher than the previous record of RMB8.5 offering price by Air China. Its share price soared 44% to RMB26.15 per share on the first day of trading.
From regional to international LCC
“We were very cash strapped during the economic crisis of 2008 but now money is not an issue,” Mr. Wang said. Spring Airlines plans to expand its fleet to 60 aircraft by the end of 2015 and build it up to 100 planes by 2018.
It will use funds raised in the IPO to buy no more than nine A320 aircraft and three A320 flight simulators.
Mr. Wang hopes to increase international operation from the current 16% of the airline’s total capacity to 30%, equivalent to the level of growth achieved over the past three years. He vowed to dedicate manpower and effort to expanding its international flight network to cover Southeast Asia and North Asia from its Shanghai base.
“In addition to enhancing our major commercial air routes, we will also expand our network to cover all the major cities in China and then open routes to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia over the next three to five years,” he said.
“Our goal is to give every Chinese the chance to fly by providing budget airfare. Seeing the excitement and joy on the faces of our many first-time flyers gives me the greatest satisfaction. When I watch them sit in the seats and look out the windows with awe I feel that I am doing something truly worthwhile,” he said.(Translation by David)