China Express Airlines, China’s pioneer and leader in regional aviation, made history this year by being the first to operate the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in China. With the acceptance of its second aircraft in September 2012, the overall entry into service of the China Express CRJ900 NextGen regional jet has been “a delightful experience,” said Wu Longjiang, Chief Financial Officer, China Express Airlines, at a recent media event in Chongqing hosted by Bombardier. “Our CRJ900 NextGen regional jets are showing excellent dispatch reliability, low fuel burn and are the right size to optimize profitability in China’s tier two and tier three markets,” he added.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft sees an important role for its 70-seat CRJ700 NextGen, 88-seat CRJ900 NextGen and 100-seat CRJ1000 NextGen regional jetliners as China continues to strengthen its regional aviation network.
The country’s current five-year plan calls for more regional airports, replacement of older aircraft with newer, more efficient models, and the faster growth of regional airlines to provide more service. Regional hubs could be developed in cities such as Harbin, Dalian, Tianjin, Chengdu, Chongquing, Kunming, Xi’an and Urumqui, to name a few possibilities.
Currently, 60 per cent of China’s commercial fleet is made up of aircraft larger than 150 seats, which are too large to connect smaller cities to provincial capitals. Current service levels are up to 10 times lower in these regions compared to top tier airport networks. As exemplified by China Express Airlines, CRJ NextGen aircraft economics allow airlines to profitably enter these smaller markets providing efficient service to a growing demand of business and leisure travelers.
Financing for start-up regional airlines in China can be arranged through CDB Leasing Co., ICBC Financial Leasing Co. Ltd., and AVIC International Leasing Co. Ltd. since all three leasing companies have signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Bombardier. Under the MoU, the leasing companies have agreed to offer advanced payment financing, delivery financing and leasing solutions for the Q-Series, CRJ Series and CSeries aircraft. China Express Airlines leases its CRJ900 NextGen aircraft from AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd.
“These MoU provide mutual benefits to Bombardier and the leasing companies since they address all parties’ objectives of providing optimized aircraft solutions to operators in China and elsewhere,” said Guy C. Hachey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Aerospace.
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