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FORMED IN 1986 AND STARTED OPERATIONS IN 1988. SCHEDULED & CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, DOMESTIC & REGIONAL, JET AIRPLANE SERVICE.
CHENGDU SHUANGLIU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
610202 CHENGDU, (SICHUAN), CHINA
China (People's Republic of China) was established in 1949, it covers an area of 9,560,980 sq km, its population is 1,265 million, its capital city is Beijing, and its official language is Chinese.
JUNE 1994: 7 ORDERS A320'S.
MAY 1995: 3 ORDERS (JUNE TO OCTOBER 1995) A320-200'S, (ILF) LEASED, FOR SERVICE TO BEIJING (1ST A320 IN CHINA).
JANUARY 1996: RECEIVED 1ST OF 3 A320-232'S (V2500), 164 PAX,
8F, 156Y, (ILF) LEASED TO REPLACE TU-154'S.
FEBRUARY 1996: RECEIVED 3RD & LAST A320-232.
OCTOBER 1996: SEEKING (CAAC) (CAC) APPROVAL FOR +4 A320, (ILF) LEASED. HAS APPROVAL TO ADD 1 A320.
MAY 1997: APPROVAL TO ADD 2 A320'S TO CURRENT 3.
48 DESTINATIONS TO 24 CHINESE CITIES.
AUGUST 1997: 3 A320'S (540; 551; 556) "C" MAINTENANCE CHECKS BY (HAECO) CATHAY (CAT).
OCTOBER 1997: NEW STAR AIRLINE UNION WITH 5 REGIONAL AIRLINES: SHENZHEN AIRLINES (SHZ), HAINAN AIRLINES (HNA), ZHONGYANG AIRLINES (ZHO), SHANDONG AIRLINES (SHG), & WUHAN AIRLINES (WUH) TO SHARE PARTS, TECHNICAL FACILITIES & RESOURCES, CHECK-IN & PRE-FLIGHT SERVICES.
2 ORDERS (JANUARY 1998) A320-232'S (758; 762), SALE (SIL) LEASED.
DECEMBER 1997: 1 TU-154 WET-LEASED TO HAINAN AIRLINES (HNA) WHILE 737-400 IN FOR "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK. 2 ORDERS (SEPTEMBER 1998) A321'S (V2500), EX-(CASC).
APRIL 1998: 1,015 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 181 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 132 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
SEPTEMBER 1998: 1 A321-231 (878) DELIVERY (1ST A321 IN CHINA).
OCTOBER 1998: A320-232 (919) DELIVERY.
DECEMBER 1998: 1 A321-231 (915) DELIVERY. 1 A320-200 (V2527-A5) DELIVERY.
APRIL 1999: 1,015 EMPLOYEES. SITA: CTUUFSC.
AUGUST 1999: CIVIL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION CHINA (CAAC) (CAC) OK'S MERGER OF AIR CHINA (BEJ) AND CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES (GUN). RUMOR TO BE FOLLOWED BY CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES (CEA) WITH CHINA NORTHERN AIRLINES (SHY) & CHINA NORTHWEST AIRLINES (CNW), AS WELL AS CHINA SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (XIN) WITH YUNNAN AIRLINES (YUN) AND SICHUAN AIRLINES (SIC).
DECEMBER 1999: A321 "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK AT (GAMECO) (GUN).
5/5 ORDERS (APRIL 2000) EMBRAER ERJ-145'S.
APRIL 2000: 1,580 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 181 FLIGHT CREW (FC), 146 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA), & 260 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
MAY 2000: PLANS TO FORM A FEEDER AIRLINE WITH PRIVATE INVESTORS.
NEW ROUTES TO JINAN TO DALIAN; TO ZHANGJIAJIE TO ZHIHAI; & TO SHIJIAZHUANG TO SHENYANG.
5 ORDERS BOMBARDIER (BMB) DASH 8'S, 5 ORDERS EMBRAER (EMB) ERJ-145'S, & 10 ORDERS MA60'S (LOCALLY BUILT). 1 737-37K (27275) ZHONGYUAN AIRLINES (ZHO) 1 YEAR WET-LEASED.
JUNE 2000: 5 ORDERS ERJ-145'S, 50 PAX, WERE $17 MILLION EACH.
(CAAC) (CAC) TO BAN ALL CHINESE-MADE (YUN) AIRPLANES & ALL RUSSIAN TUPOLEV AIRPLANES FROM ALL SCHEDULED PASSENGER FLIGHTS FROM JUNE 2001.
JULY 2000: 1999 = 1.38 BILLION (RPK) TRAFFIC; 4.47 MILLION (FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC; 1.05 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX); 1,580 EMPLOYEES.
SEPTEMBER 2000: 3 A320'S HEAVY MAINTENANCE CONTRACT AT ANSETT (ANS).
1ST ERJ-145 (317, B-3040) DELIVERY. A321-231'S WILL DISPLACE AGING TU-154M'S.
NOVEMBER 2000: 1 ERJ-145LR (349, B-3041) DELIVERY.
DECEMBER 2000: 1 ERJ-145LR (352, B-3042) DELIVERY.
APRIL 2001: SICHUAN AIRLINES (SIC) IS A PROVINCIAL AIRLINE PROVIDING SCHEDULED DOMESTIC SERVICES TO >20 DESTINATIONS.
JUNE 2001: JOINS CHINA SKY AVIATION ENTERPRISE GROUP ALLIANCE (CSAEGA): INCLUDING SHANDONG AIRLINES (SHG), SHANGHAI AIRLINES (SHA), SHENZHEN AIRLINES (SHZ), WUHAN AIRLINES (WUH), AND CHINA POSTAL AIRLINES (CPZ). IN 2000, CARRIED 8.1 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (35% OF DOMESTIC MARKET) WITH 103 AIRPLANES & 533 ROUTES. WILL CODE SHARE AND JOINT MANAGE AIRPLANES, EQUIPMENT, GROUND HANDLING, ENGINEERING, MAINTENANCE, AND CARGO.
JULY 2001: 1 ERJ-145LR (479, B-3405) DELIVERY.
MARCH 2002: CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES (CEA) IS NEGOTIATING TO ACQUIRE A 30% STAKE IN SICHUAN AIRLINES (SIC) FOR $36 MILLION.
March 2003: 2 A320-232's (V2500) (573; 82), ex-Air Macau (MCU), (ILF) 5 year leased. Plans to order 2 A319's by July 2003.
April 2003: Cooperative marketing agreement with China Southern Airlines (GUN) to unify their varied classes of service for the upcoming summer and fall travel seasons and exchange of frequent-flier miles.
August 2003: Paid $282,000 in a charity auction for the right to use the telephone number "88888888" for its customer service line. The number "8" is considered lucky in China because it rhymes with the Chinese word for "rich."
1 A321-131 (V2500) (550), ex-Air Macau (MCU), (ILF) 5 year leased.
September 2003: 2002 = 2.82 billion (RPK) traffic (+15.1%); 2 million passengers (PAX) (+19.2%).
2002 TOP WORLD AIRLINES PASSENGER TRAFFIC (RPK) (Billion):
135 (CYP) 3.31; 136 (ETH) 3.29; 137 (GOT) 3.22; 138 (MWX) 3.19; 139 (ICE) 3.19; 140 (XIH) 3.14; 141 (IBW) 3.09; 142 (COP) 3.03; 143 (ALG) 2.98; 144 (DAT) 2.97; 145 (APC) 2.87; 146 (EBA) 2.84; 147 (LDI) 2.82; 148 (SIC) 2.82; 149 (MLT) 2.75; 150 (WLD) 2.69; 151 (ALO) 2.61.
October 2003: Chengdu to Jiuzhai (high altitude airport) (A320).
December 2003: 4 orders (February 2004) A319's (V2500), initially for the Chengdu to Jiuhuang route.
May 2004: A320-233 (912, B-2348) (CIT) (TCI) leased.
July 2004: Selects Rockwell Collins to supply avionics for its new 4 A319's with deliveries scheduled in October 2004. Collins WXR-2100 MultiScan Weather Radar is included in the avionics package. MultiScan provides optimal weather detection from the nose of the airplane to 320 nm.
A320-233 (902, B-6049), Pegasus (PSS) leased.
August 2004: A321-131 (591, B-2293), (ILF) leased.
October 2004: A319-133 (2313, B-6043), delivery. The airplane will be deployed to Jiuzhai Valley, Panzhihua, Lijang, and other high-altitude areas of Western China and later to Lhasa, Tibet.
November 2004: 1,584 employees (including 194 Flight Crew (FC), 214 Cabin Attendants (CA), & 261 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).
December 2004: A319-133 (2348, B-6045) delivery.
February 2005: 2 orders A319-133's and 6 orders A320-232's.
May 2005: 2 orders (November 2005) A319's & 6 orders (11/05) A320's.
June 2005: 1,844 employees (including 217 Flight Crew (FC); 238 Cabin Attendants (CA); & 342 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).
July 2005: A319-133 (2510, B-6054) & A320-232 (872, B-6256), deliveries.
August 2005: A319-133 (2534, B-2298) delivery.
September 2005: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) chose (IAE) (V2500)s to power 6 A320s and 2 A319s on order.
October 2005: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) selected Air France Industries (AFA) to carry out 3 A320 "D" checks scheduled for completion by the end of November. (SIC) operates 20 A320 family airplanes.
November 2005: A319-133 (2597, B-2299) delivery.
December 2005: Airbus (EDS)'s negotiations with Chinese authorities resulted in a blockbuster contract as (EDS) reached a "general terms agreement" with Chinese Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group (CSC) for the purchase of 150 A320 family airplanes.
The order comprises A319s, A320s and A321s, the largest single order (EDS) has ever received since it entered the Chinese market 20 years ago. The deal is worth nearly $10 billion and was signed in the presence of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the latter's visit to France.
"Since it was 1st introduced into the Chinese market in 1995, the A320 family airplanes have been put in service by 10 Chinese operators with a total of 216 airplanes, accounting for two-thirds of all in-service (EDS) airplanes, or nearly one-quarter of the total airplanes in operation in China,” said (CSC) President Li Hai. “The demand for this modern and cost-saving airplane family from Chinese airlines has been rapidly increasing in recent years."
The 150 airplanes will be delivered to 6 Chinese airlines, including Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ), and Hainan Airlines (HNA).
The agreement followed by 1 day the signing of a Memo of Understanding (MOU) between Airbus (EDS) and the National Development & Reform Commission of China covering Chinese participation in (EDS) programs including the possibility of establishing a final assembly line "for single-aisle airplanes in China."
5 Chinese companies currently produce parts for (EDS), which has committed to increase procurement volume to $60 million by 2007 and $120 million by 2010. It employs 54 Chinese engineers, soon to be 200 at its Beijing Engineering center, which will be part of China's promised participation in the A350 program. (EDS) and China Aviation Industry Corporation signed a $500 million extension last month to a contract for A320 family wing boxes.
A319-133 (2639, B-2300), delivery. (ILFC) (ILF) announced it has leased 2 used A321-200s (1060; 1293) to (SIC) for 8 years. These airplanes will be delivered in February and August 2006.
January 2006: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) serves >20 destinations from its base at Chengdu. Plans to buy 3 A330's to launch international services within 3 years.
February 2006: Chinese domestic airlines flew a record 138 million passengers in 2005, a rise of +15% over 2004 and double the number of 2000. The figure is expected to double again in the next 5 years, according to Gao Geng the Vice Minister of the General Administration of (CAAC) in China. Cargo and airmail throughput rose +14% to 3.04 million tons in 2005 and also is expected to double in the next 5 years. However, profit margins will remain tight within the sector. He noted revenues in the sector had grown to CNY170 billion/$21.09 billion at the end of 2005, but profits in the past 5 years had amounted to only +CNY10 billion.
June 2006: China Southern (GUN), (KLM) and Sichuan Airlines (SIC), in which (GUN) holds a minority stake, announced an expanded code share agreement covering 9 (GUN) or (SIC) flights from Chengdu and Beijing, 10 (KLM) services from Amsterdam Schiphol and all flights between (AMS) and (PEK). Agreement goes into full effect June 24.
December 2006: International Aero Engines (IAE) announced that Sichuan Airlines (SIC) selected the (V2500) to power 2 A319s and 4 A321s. (SIC) also became the Chinese launch customer for the "(V2500) Select" aftermarket program, which will cover the new orders as well as +14 A320 family airplanes. (IAE) said the deal is worth >$370 million.
May 2007: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) and TransAsia Airways (FSH) of Taiwan are in negotiations to launch a new carrier based in Shanghai, according to Lin Xiaoxin President of Goldsun Group, TransAsia (FSH)'s biggest shareholder. "Currently, we are discussing relevant details with (FSH) to launch a new airline, but so far no agreement has been reached," a (SIC) source said. It is expected that (SIC) will have a controlling stake in the new entity, which would be in accordance with (CAAC) regulations on foreign ownership.
(FSH) Managing Director Tian Di said the (CAAC) has approved the entity, which is expected to start service by year end. He noted that the new airline will focus on "China's domestic routes" 1st, and then add routes to Hong Kong and Macau. "International routes" will be considered in the future, according to Taiwanese press reports. (SIC) has 25 A320 family airplanes and 5 ERJ-145s with 15 Airbus (EDS) narrow bodies on order. Its network comprises 40 cities. (FSH) has 8 A320 family airplanes and 9 ATR 72s.
Thales (THL) was selected by (SIC) to supply and support 2 Level D full flight simulators to be installed in a soon-to-be-built (SIC) training center in Chengdu. Also ordered was an A320 (THL) Formation Systems Trainer. (THL) valued the contract at >$20 million.
May 2007: 3 A319-133s (3114, B-6174; 3116, B-6175; 3124, B-6176), (ILF) leased.
June 2007: "Kunming Airlines," which aims to become the 1st privately run carrier in Yunnan Province, obtained operational approval from the (CAAC). Founder Wang Qingmin noted that he and an unidentified partner will hold a 60% stake in the new carrier, while Sichuan Airlines (SIC) will hold the remainder. He did not reveal the total investment amount. "Kunming Airlines" will adopt an "air travel plus tourism" market model, and focus mainly on intra-provincial routes. Located in SW China, Yunnan is home to numerous resorts and is a popular tourist destination. Wang said the airline eventually "will consider opening national routes."
(SIC) acquired a 20% stake of Chengdu-based United Eagle Air (UEG).
18 orders A320s.
A320-232 (3158, B-6322), delivery.
July 2007: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) recently took delivery of 4 A319s and expects to introduce an A320 on July 4. (SIC) noted that it will add +9 Airbus (EDS) airplanes to its fleet this year, including 6 A319s. Fleet expansion will allow it to launch flights from Chengdu to Shangri-La in Yunnan Province, followed by services to neighboring Asian countries in the next 2 to 3 years. It currently operates 36 airplanes and is planning to expand its fleet to 100 airplanes and reach CNY10 billion/$1.31 billion in revenue within 3 to 5 years.
A320-232 (3167, B-6323), delivery.
August 2007: 2 A320-232s (3196, B-6325; 3210, B-6321), deliveries.
October 2007: Chinese carriers are beginning to follow the internationally common practice of recruiting privately trained pilots (FC) in an effort to make up for a pilot (FC) shortfall that (CAAC) Vice Minister Gao Hongfeng said last month will reach 2,000 over the next 2 years. The country's commercial aviation fleet numbered 1,067 airplanes at the end of July, and is expected to rise to 1,250 by 2010. Chinese carriers traditionally cover training expenses for their pilots (FC), which normally runs several million yuan for each individual. As a result, pilots (FC) rarely are able to transfer to competing carriers, as the current employer often asks for heavy compensation from a potential new employer. In addition, the rising number of new entrants is exacerbating the problem. Gao said 39 privately run airlines have submitted applications to the (CAAC) since 2004, and 17 have been approved so far. China Southern Airlines (GUN) started the trend in May, announcing its plans to recruit 100 privately trained pilots (FC). Sichuan Airlines (SIC) followed 3 months later, hiring 50 private pilots (FC). This month Spring Airlines (CQH), East Star Airlines (ESR), and United Eagle Air (UEG) disclosed their interest in recruiting such pilots (FC) in the near future. Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ) has taken it one step further, establishing Kunpeng International Flight School (KIFS) with a CNY30 million investment. (KIFS) will award privately trained pilots (FC) an (ICAO)-recognized license on their graduation, and currently has 120 students. That number is expected to leap to 480 next year. Industry analysts have pointed out that privately trained pilots (FC)'s ability to seek new jobs, when their working contracts expire, or are terminated, will help the market mature and constitute a significant step toward solving the shortage.
Dongbei Air, the new regional that (SIC) plans to launch in the 1st half of next year, is expected to receive (CAC) approval soon. According to a (CAC) statement, (SIC) will hold a 33.5% stake in the start-up with an investment of CNY53.6 million/$7.1 million, while Shenyang Zhongrui Investment Co put in CNY54.4 million for a 34% stake. Other investors are the Shenyang municipal government's state-owned Assets Supervision & Administration, and Liaoning Huanjiang Industrial Company, each of which will hold 16.25% with separate CNY26 million investments. (SIC) will support the new venture with 30 pilots (FC), 20 flight attendants (CA), 6 Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) professionals (MT), and 2 dispatch employees. Dongbei initially will lease 1 A319 and 2 ERJ-145s to operate regional routes in northeast China. It will have bases in Shenyang and Chaoyang and also serve Dalian, Dandong and Jinzhou. With "Resurrection of Traditional Industrial Bases in NE China" adopted as official national policy, there is growing potential for economic development in the region, which industry analysts have predicted will support increased air service. Dongbei will be eligible for subsidies that the (CAAC) intends to distribute at year end to promote regional development. The (CAAC) also will waive its prohibition against new entries prior to 2010, because Dongbei will operate in the less-congested Northeast. - see later December 2007 with "Dongbei Air" launched as "NorthEast Airlines (NTE)."
A320-232 (3386, B-6347) delivery.
December 2007: New Chinese passenger carrier "NorthEast Airlines (NTE)" has launched services from its Shengyang base. Part-owned by Sichuan Airlines (SIC), (NTE) launched operations with services to Chengdu and Tianjin. It plans to add more domestic services in the coming months. The new airline has begun with 1 A319 and 2 Embraer ERJ-145s.
Domestic China market share is shown on ATTACHED - "SIC-DOM-MKT-SHARE-DEC07."
February 2008: A320-232 (3386, B-6347) delivery ex-(F-WWDP).
March 2008: Beijing Capital International Airport's new $3 billion-plus Terminal 3 opened as Shandong Airlines (SHG) (flight SC1151 arrived from Jinan at 8:39 am. UK architect, Norman Foster claimed it is the largest covered structure ever built (3.25 km long and 1.3 million sq m of floor space). Construction began in March 2004. The airport said the 3-concourse facility welcomed (SHG), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Qantas (QAN), Qatar Airways (QTA), British Airways (BAB), and El Al (ELA). A 2nd move is scheduled for March 26 when Air China (BEJ), Shanghai Airlines (SHA), (SAS), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Lufthansa (DLH), Asiana Airlines (AAR), Air Canada (ACN), United Airlines (UAL), (ANA), Thai Airways (TII), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Finnair (FIN), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Japan Airlines (JAL), Dragonair (DRG), Turkish Airlines (THY), Emirates (EAD), Air Macau (MCU), S7 Airlines (SBR), and EgyptAir (EGP) will transfer to the new building. "Reuters" reported that airport capacity will be boosted to 76 million per year from the 52 million it served in 2007. The baggage system can handle 19,800 pieces per hour, it said.
A320-232 (3449, B-6348), delivery.
June 2008: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is a Chengdu-based regional airline providing scheduled domestic jet airplane services to >20 destinations within China.
Employees = 2,126.
(IATA) Code: 3U. (ICAO) Code: CSC (Callsign - SICHUAN).
Parent organization/shareholders: Sichuan Airlines Group (40%); China Southern Airlines (GUN) (39%); Shandong Airlines (SHG) (10%); Shanghai Airlines (SHA) (10%); & Gingko Restaurant (1%).
Company slogan: “Chinese Elements, Sichuan Charm.”
Main Base: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU).
Hub: Chongqing Airport (CKG).
Domestic, scheduled destinations: Beijing; Chengdu; Chongqing; Dalian; Fuzhou; Guangzhou; Guiyang; Haikou; Hangzhou; Jinan; Kunming; Nanchang; Nanjing; Nanning; Ningbo; Pan Zhi Hua; Sanya; Shangahi; Shenzhen; Shijiazhuang; Song Pan; Tongren; Wanxian; Xi'An; Xichang; Xining; Xuzhou; & Yichang.
November 2008: 9 mainland Chinese carriers were selected to operate weekday flights across the Taiwan Strait and are expected to launch service on December 15, according to the (CAAC). In addition to Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Xiamen Airlines (XIA), and Shanghai Airlines (SHA), which all already operate weekend cross-strait flights, Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Shandong Airlines (SHG) and Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ) were tapped to operate the weekday flights.
Mainland carriers are permitted to operate 54x-weekly. According to the (CAAC), (BEJ) will operate 10x- while 12x- have been allotted to (CEA), 10x- to (GUN), 5x- to (HNA), 6x- to Xiamen (XIA), and 5x- to (SHA). (SIC), (SHG), and (SHZ) each have been granted permission to operate 2x-weekly weekday flights.
Regarding cross-strait cargo flights, (CEA) subsidiary, China Cargo Airlines (CKK), (GUN), and Air China Cargo (CAO) have been selected. China Cargo Airlines (CKK) and (GUN) each are expected to operate 10 monthly flights from Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively, while (CAO) is expected to operate 5 monthly flights from both Shanghai and Guangzhou.
International Aero Engines (IAE) won a $700 million deal from Sichuan Airlines (SIC) for (V2500 SelectOne) engines to power 18 A320s slated for delivery in 2009 through 2012. The contract also designates (IAE) as (SIC)'s preferred engine supplier for future A320 family acquisitions. (SIC) launched the (V2500) in China in 1995, and the engine has been selected for >180 additional A320s placed on firm order in E Asia, representing >half the market share in China. The "SelectOne" build standard entered service last month with IndiGo (IGO). Pratt & Whitney (PRW), which holds 32.5% of (IAE), said it will earn $233 million on the deal, which includes long-term aftermarket support for both the new engines and those currently powering 15 airplanes.
December 2008: A321-231 (3730, B-6551), delivery.
March 2009: Chengdu-based United Eagle Airlines (UEG), a privately held carrier agreed to merge with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) through the sale of a 56% stake for CNY200 million/$29.2 million. The deal comes days after another struggling private airline, East Star Airlines (ESR) rejected a purchase offer from Air China (BEJ) parent, (CNAC) and was suspended by Chinese regulator (CAAC). (SIC)'s stake in (UEG) has increased to 76%. (SIC) is controlled by the local government (40%) and China Southern Airlines (GUN) (39%). The remaining 24% of (UEG) is held by 5 private companies led by Chengdu Huaying Investment Consultation (15.1% worth CNY45.4 million).
A (SIC) insider said that (SIC) aims to be better positioned in its home market because China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ) plan to enter the area soon. (SIC)'s "deeper cooperation" with (UEG) will focus mainly on regional transport.
Launched in July 2005, (UEG) has registered capital of CNY80 million and operates 3 A319s and 2 A320s on 17 domestic routes. Owing to its small fleet, scattered ownership structure and the difficult external operating environment, it has suffered heavy losses and carries a debt burden. In December 2008, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport stopped providing service to it because of CNY30.5 million in unpaid landing and ground service fees.
The spokesperson said that (UEG) will use the CNY200 million to pay off its debts and expand its business with new routes and fleet additions. It plans to launch Chengdu to Lijiang flights on March 28 and will resume all routes it had to suspend earlier this year. In addition, it expects to take delivery of an A320 in July.
International Aero Engines (IAE) announced the delivery of the 1st set of (V2500)s to Airbus (EDS)'s A320 final assembly line in Tianjin. The (V2500) will be installed on 9 of the 1st 10 airplanes assembled there, including the 1st plane scheduled for delivery to Sichuan Airlines (SIC) this summer.
April 2009: Naverus signed an agreement with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) to provide tailored Required Navigation Performance-based procedures at Lhasa. Naverus also will assist (Sic) in obtaining regulatory approval to fly the procedures with its fleet of A319s.
A320-232 (3893, B-6590), delivery.
May 2009: The 1st A320 assembled outside Europe successfully completed its inaugural flight, taking off from Tianjin International in the morning and landing safely a little >4 hours later. The airplane assembled at Airbus (EDS) Final Assembly Line China (FALC) was ordered by Dragon Aviation Leasing and is set to be delivered in June to Sichuan Airlines (SIC). "This A320 assembled in China unquestionably demonstrated the same quality and performance as those assembled and delivered in Hamburg or Toulouse," (EDS) Senior VP Flight & Integration Tests, Fernando Alonso said.
11 A319s/A320s are scheduled for delivery in Tianjin this year. The production rate will be ramped up to 4 aircraft per month by the end of 2011. The A320 (FALC) is a joint venture between (EDS) (51%) and a Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone and (AVIC) (49%).
June 2009: Airbus (EDS) (CEO) Tom Enders and Airbus China President Laurence Barron said in Tianjin that the financial commitment involved in establishing (EDS)'s new final assembly line (FAL) is taking a back seat to its effort "to build a Chinese identity for (EDS)." (EDS) is scheduled this month to deliver the 1st A320-214 (3591, B-6388) produced at the Tianjin (FAL) to Sichuan Airlines (SIC) - - SEE ATTACHED "SIC-1ST CHINESE A320-2009-06." The airplane was ordered by Dragon Aviation Leasing, and (EDS) hopes to use the facility to better position itself to increase its Chinese market share. It currently accounts for 41% of the country's commercial airplanes. Barron said the (FAL) "will give us an advantage in selling airplanes here, not only A320s." Enders added, "We are not here for charity." But Tianjin is a considerable investment. "Yes we have lower labor costs here, but higher training costs," Barron explained. In addition, the logistics involving Chinese assembly are not easy or cheap. Parts from Europe are delivered by ship, increasing the production cycle for an individual airplane by 3 months over those assembled in Toulouse or Hamburg. The executives said flying the parts to China would be too expensive and that there currently is no airplane available that could do the job. Tianjin "will never be as cost efficient as building [the A320] in Europe. The point is that it is a strategy," Enders said, claiming that the Tianjin (FAL) is (EDS)'s most significant venture in the past 4 decades. Barron said the (FAL) "is something everyone is talking about. It's bringing attention." Meanwhile, (EDS) is positioning itself to take advantage of the growth in China's commercial aviation industry. "We definitely see a trend to bigger airplanes like the A330," he said. (EDS) expects to assemble 11 A320s at Tianjin this year and 26 in 2010. All are scheduled for delivery to Chinese customers. The facility will assemble only the A319 and A320 and has a full-year capacity of 40. By 2016, (EDS) expects to have built 284 airplanes at the site.
"1 day we will be produce more (EDS) products [in China], but for now it is too early to talk about. This (FAL) will not be the endpoint [for (EDS) in China]. There will be some more opportunities to come," Enders said. (EDS) also announced an (MOU) with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) under which the companies will "share competence and experience to cooperate on airplane financing and management activities," including lease transactions and re-marketing.
(EDS) said the (ICBC) could provide financing worth >CNY20 billion for up to 70 A320s over the next 5 years and that it "shall consider purchasing a certain number of airplanes" directly.
A320-232 (3591, B-6388 - - SEE ATTACHED "SIC-1ST CHINESE A320-2009-06"), AerDragon Aviation Partners leased (1st Chinese assembled Airbus airplane).
July 2009: China Eastern Airlines (CEA) will benefit the most from the agreement reached in April to expand significantly the number of flights permitted across the Taiwan Strait, according to a cross-strait distribution plan released by the (CAAC). The Taipei-based Strait Exchange Foundation and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, signed the accord that increases from 108 to 270 the number of direct flights allowed beginning this month. Under the (CAC)'s plan, (CEA) is designated to operate 58x-weekly flights to Taipei from Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, Xi'an, Hefei, Ningbo, and Nanchang. (CEA) Board Secretary Luo Zhuping noted that (CEA)'s cross-strait routes are among its most profitable and have operated at 80% to 90% (ASK) capacity on average.
Air China (BEJ) was assigned 54x-weekly flights to Taipei from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Tianjin, and Guiyang. China Southern Airlines (GUN) also was allocated 54x-weekly flights to Taipei to be operated from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Dalian, Guilin, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Changsha, Haikou, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Harbin, and Guiyang.
Hainan Airlines (HNA) and Shanghai Airlines (SHA) each were allocated 20x-weekly flights, while Xiamen Airlines (XIA) was given 22x-.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Shandong Airlines (SHG) and Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ) were granted 14x-weekly flights each.
On the cargo front, Air China Cargo (CAO) was assigned 10 weekly flights to Taipei from Shanghai and Guangzhou, while (CEA) subsidiary China Cargo Airlines (CKK) was assigned 8x-weekly flights from Shanghai to Taipei and China Southern (GUN) was assigned 10x-weekly flights from Guangzhou to Taipei.
A319-133 (3962, B-6406) and A321-231 (3996, B-6598), deliveries.
August 2009: A319-133 (4018, B-6410), delivery.
October 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) agreed to purchase a 48% stake in Sichuan Airlines (SIC) subsidiary United Eagle Airlines (UEG) in order to facilitate the sale of its ARJ21 and C919 airplanes. The (CCC) will invest CNY1 billion/$146.3 million in Chengdu-based, United Eagle (UEG), which under terms of the agreement will order 30 ARJ21s after the stake sale is concluded.
(SIC) acquired 76.2% of (UEG) for CNY200 million 6 months ago as (UEG) was on the verge of bankruptcy. Owing to (CCC)'s investment, Sichuan (SIC)'s stake will be reduced to 40.97%. Sichuan Communication Investment Group will hold the remaining 11.03%.
(UEG) is expected to take delivery of its 1st ARJ21 at the end of 2010. It currently operates 7 A320 family airplanes on 35 domestic routes and is expected to add an 8th airplane at year end. (UEG) plans to rely on the A320 and ARJ21 in the short term, "but we will phase out the A320s gradually and replace them with C919s for the long term," a Sichuan spokesperson said. (UEG) noted it will continue to help (UEG) with capacity control, operational management, Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and human resources.
(SIC) was the 1st carrier to introduce the A320 into the Chinese market in the 1990s. It also took delivery of the 1st A320 assembled at Airbus (EDS)'s Tianjin final assembly line in June. Similarly, (AVIC) launched Joy Air (JOY) with 3 MA60s in August. (JOY) is expected to introduce +3 more MA60s by year end and plans to acquire 50 of the type, plus 50 ARJ21s, over the next 8 years.
A320-214 (4068, B-6612), delivery.
January 2010: Airbus (EDS) signed a 13.5-year flight-hour services agreement with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) covering three new A330s it will operate on lease, beginning this year.
February 2010: Panasonic said it also completed eX2 in-flight entertainment installation on the 1st of 3 leased A330-200s delivered to Sichuan Airlines (SIC).
(IAE) said that Sichuan Airlines (SIC) selected (V2500) engines for 12 A320s on order for delivery between 2011 and 2015. The deal is valued at $300 million. Included is a long-term aftermarket services agreement. (SIC)'s fleet comprises 61 A320s, all of which are powered by (V2500)s.
(SIC) took delivery of the 1st of 3 new A330-243s (1082, B-6518) on lease from AerCap (DEA). It already operates 13 A319s, 21 A320s and 10 A321s. The A330-243 will seat 36F in 1st class and 209Y in economy.
A320-232 (4288, B-6697) delivery.
June 2010: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is expected to increase its stake in troubled Dongbei Air to 97% from its current 33.5% holding, another example of the growing trend of China's few privately run airlines being taken over by state-owned carriers.
(SIC) Chairman Lan Xinguo noted that the stake purchase still must receive government approval and "hopefully will be approved by relevant government organs soon." He didn't reveal how much Sichuan (SIC) would spend to effectively take over Dongbei, but insiders estimated it would invest about CNY101.6 million/$14.9 million.
Launched in February 2006, Dongbei initially was based at Shenyang Taoxian. Private enterprise Shenyang Zhongrui Investment Company holds a 34% stake while the Shenyang government and Liaoning Huanjiang Property Company each hold 16.25%.
Hit hard by the global financial crisis and management missteps, Dongbei has been suffering from operating losses since its launch. It transferred its operating base from Shenyang to Guilin in Guangxi Province last December, a move widely speculated to have been made to pave the way for a capital injection.
It will not be the 1st time (SIC) has taken over a privately run airline. It took control of United Eagle Airlines (UEG) by investing CNY200 million last year. Last October, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) purchased a 48% stake in (UEG) from (SIC) in order to facilitate the sale of its ARJ21 and C919 airplanes. (UEG) changed its name to Chengdu Airlines (UEG). Lan predicts Chengdu (UEG) will earn a profit this year owing to the domestic market's strong rebound.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) plans to launch Hebei Airlines on June 29 using the assets of subsidiary, Dongbei Air (NTE). (SIC) this month took over troubled Dongbei by investing CNY400 million/$58.7 million to increase its ownership stake to 97% from 33.5%. The launch of Hebei will be done in conjunction with the Hebei provincial government represented by the Hebei Jizhong Energy Group (HJEG).
The airline's launch is waiting for approval from the (CAAC) (CAC). It is widely speculated that the (HJEG) will make a capital injection in the new entity and will hold an ownership stake, but both the size of the investment and its holding remain unclear. Shenyang Zhongrui Investment Company currently holds a 3% stake in Dongbei.
Dongbei Air (Northeast Airlines (NTE), originally launched in 2006 but unable to achieve profitability, transferred its operating base from Shenyang to Guilin in Guangxi Province last December. (SIC) Chairman Lan Xinguo said the new Hebei Airlines will be based in Shijiazhuang, capital of the Hebei Province.
Dongbei Airlines (Northeast Airlines (NTE)) operates a fleet comprising 1 A319 and 2 ERJ-145s. Lan indicated that (SIC) will add more capacity to boost the new venture's flight frequencies to Guangxi and Liaoning. (SIC) currently operates to 5 domestic destinations from Shijiazhuang: Hefei, Guilin, Lanzhou, Ordos, and Chongqing.
A320-232 (4326, B-6700), ex-(F-WWIA) delivery.
July 2010: Hebei Airlines (NTE) was launched successfully on June 29 using the assets of Dongbei Air (Northeast Airlines). (NTE) operates 1 A319 and 2 ERJ-145s on domestic routes from the capital of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang, to Qinhuangdao, Guilin, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hohhot. Hebei Chairman Wang Sheping noted (NTE) will expand the fleet to 10 airplanes by year end and to 20 by 2015. Sichuan Airlines (SIC) took over troubled Hebei (NTE) by investing CNY400 million/$58.7 million to raise its holding to 97% from 33.5% in June. Shenyang Zhongrui Investment Company has the remaining 3%. A share restructuring is planned over the next year, with Hebei Aviation Group acquiring a 62% stake, while Sichuan (SIC) would hold 35%. Shenyang will retain its 3% investment. Hebei (NTE) is expected to incur operating losses initially, an insider said, but financial help from the Hebei local government is expected to improve its fortunes.
August 2010: A321-231 (4420, B-6718) ex-(D-AZAF) delivery.
January 2010: Sichuan Airlines (SIC), controlled by its provincial government, also counts China Southern Airlines (GUN), Air China (BEJ)’s Shandong Airlines (SHG), and China Eastern Airline (CEA)’s
Shanghai Airlines (SHA) as minority owners. Its main base is Chengdu, where it competes with (BEJ), but it also operates from nearby Chongqing and Kunming, mostly with A320s. (SIC) received its first A330-200s last year, but remains a mostly domestic carrier. It did, however, start flying to Hong Kong in 2005, Seoul in 2007, Taipei in 2008, and has added a few other international routes since.
(SIC) plans to begin service between China and Saipan in mid-February with 4x-weekly. In a filing on December 22, (SIC) asked the USA Department of Transportation for the authority to offer scheduled service from China to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands so it can begin the Saipan service. It also wants approval to operate charter flights between China and the USA. The initial scheduled service would consist of 2 routings, both with 2x-weekly service: Chengdu - Shanghai - Saipan on Thursdays and Sundays beginning February 17 and Chengdu - Guangzhou - Saipan on Mondays and Fridays beginning February 18. Both services would be offered on A330 airplanes configured with 36F 1st-class and 209Y economy seats. The airline took delivery of the 2 A330-200 series jets earlier in 2010 (its first wide body airplanes, which it notes will enhance its international service opportunities). (SIC) currently operates a network of scheduled flights from its base in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, and from a 2nd hub at Chongqing. Although (SIC) operates predominantly domestic flights, it also provides regional international service to places such as Seoul and Taipei, and it recently operated seasonal flights to Male, Maldives. (SIC) currently operates a fleet of 57 owned and leased Airbus (EDS) and Embraer airplanes, with +29 more Airbus (EDS) airplanes on order for delivery through the 3rd quarter of 2013. The order includes A320 family airplanes and a 3rd A330.
May 2011: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) launched a Yunnan subsidiary to enhance its position in the lucrative Yunnan market and take advantage of the fast-growing Chinese economy.
(SIC) operates 4 airplanes in Kunming and plans to expand its fleet to 25 airplanes by 2015. In the next 5 years, (SIC) expects to open 33 domestic routes to other province capitals and major cities starting from Kunming, which will increase its share of the Yunnan market from 6% to 20% by the end of 2015.
China Eastern Airlines (CEA) enjoys a 50% market share. Hainan Airlines (HNA) (including subsidiaries Lucky Air (LKY) and China West Airlines (CHO)) has 17%, China Southern Airlines (GUN) has 14.9%, and Air China (BEJ) (including subsidiaries Shandong Airlines (SHG) and Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ)) has 12%.
Earlier this year, (SIC) established a subsidiary in Chongqing and set up operating bases in Hangzhou, Beijing, Sanya, Xi’an, Harbin, and Mianyang. (SIC) has a fleet of 60 airplanes, which it plans to increase to 100 in the next 5 years.
June 2011: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) plans to launch Hebei Airlines on June 29 using the assets of subsidiary Dongbei Air. (SIC) this month took over troubled Dongbei by investing CNY400 million/$58.7 million to increase its ownership stake to 97% from 33.5%. The launch of Hebei will be done in conjunction with the Hebei provincial government represented by the Hebei Jizhong Energy Group. The airline's launch is waiting for approval from the (CAAC) (CAC).
September 2011: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) may postpone its 1st ARJ21 delivery to Chengdu Airlines (UEG), according to an industry insider, who said some key parts haven’t passed flights tests. The ARJ21 is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the year.
A (UEG) spokesperson said that (UEG) has not been informed of any delivery delay and was moving forward with the original delivery plan.
(COMAC) (CCC) is the majority (UEG) stakeholder with a 48% holding, while Sichuan Airlines (SIC) holds 40.97%.
(UEG) was launched in 2004 as United Eagle Airlines (UEG). In March 2009, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) invested $30 million in (UEG), for a 76% stake. In late 2009, these shares were sold to (COMAC) (CCC) and the Chengdu Communications Investment Group. Following this ownership change, (UEG) placed a firm order for 30 ARJ21s. In January 2010, the airline was renamed Chengdu Airlines (UEG).
The ARJ21, which to date has received 340 orders, is in the test-flight phase to gain (CAAC) (CAC) certification. It is working toward gaining (FAA) certification, paving the way to put its international marketing plan into action.
October 2011: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) orders 20 (COMAC) (CCC) C919s. The deal increases the backlog for the single-aisle plane to 165.
Rolls-Royce (RRC) announced that (SIC) has chosen (Trent 700) engines to power its fleet of 3 leased A330-200 twinjets from AerCap (DEA).
November 2011: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has signed for 8 Airbus (EDS) airplanes, comprising 2 A319s, 4 A320s and 2 A321s. It will take delivery of the 4 A320 airplanes between 2014 and 2015.
(SIC) operates a fleet of 64 airplanes, comprising 61 A320s and 3 A330s. It said it would consider ordering an A320neo when it goes into mass production.
(SIC) plans to expand its fleet to 100 by the end of 2015. It is scheduled to introduce 13 Airbus airplanes this year.
(SIC) placed a firm order for 20 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s in October. According to (COMAC), the airplanes should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly by 1st delivery.
A320-232 (0573, B-6025), returned from lease to Hebei Airlines (NTE), A320-232 (4905, B-6843), ex-(D-AVVJ), AerDragon leased, and A321-231 (4923, B-6845), ex-(D-AVZI), deliveries.
January 2012: A321-131 (550, B-2286), returned to service after storage.
April 2012: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is accelerating the pace of its international expansion as Chengdu Shuangliu airport (CTU) moves forward with plans to become China’s 4th busiest international hub.
(SIC) Managing Director, Li Haiying said that (SIC) this year plans to open 3 A330 international routes, comprising (CTU) - Shenyang - Vancouver (June 22), (CTU) - Amsterdam and (CTU) - Melbourne. In the next 3 to 5 years, Li said (SIC) will open more international routes to build (CTU) into 1 of China’s 4 busiest airports in terms of international traffic. Overall, it is now the 5th busiest airport in China in terms of total traffic behind Beijing Capital, Guangzhou Baiyun, Shanghai Pudong and Shanghai Hongqiao
As the major gateway into West China, (CTU) has experienced a rapid growth of passenger and cargo traffic in recent years. Last year, passenger boardings increased +11.5% year-over-year to 29.07 million while cargo traffic volume grew +19.8% to 477,700 tonnes.
(SIC) operates a fleet of 64 airplanes, comprising 61 A320 series airplanes and 3 A330s. (CTU) plans to introduce +1 more A330 and 3 A320s this year.
At the end of last year, (SIC) signed an agreement for 8 Airbus airplanes, comprising 2 A319s, 4 A320s and 2 A321s. It will take delivery of the 4 A320s between 2014 and 2015. In October 2011, (SIC) placed a firm order for 20 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s.
June 2012: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) launched 3x-weekly, Chengdu - Shenyang - Vancouver service with its A330-343s. It is the 1st route to connect western China with North America.
July 2012: A319-133 (5208, B-6422) ex-(D-AVYU) delivery.
August 2012: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) will be acquiring its 3rd A330-300, Intrepid leased in the 4th quarter of 2014.
September 2012: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) will soon start serving Melbourne, Australia, its 1st nonstop link from western China.
January 2013: Sichuan Airlines ((IATA) Code: 3U, based at Chengdu Shuangliu International (CTU)) (SIC) has announced Melbourne Tullamarine International (MEL) as its 1st destination in Australia and its 2nd long-haul destination. Its only long-haul flight currently is a 3x-weekly A330-200 service from Chengdu via Shenyang Taoxian International (SHE) to Canada's Vancouver International (YVR). (SIC) plans to serve Melbourne non-stop 3x-weekly from its home base in Chengdu from February 28 with A330-200s.
March 2013: After starting its Chengdu - Melbourne, Australia, 8,700 km route last month, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) offered flights to 5 other international destinations from Chengdu: – Malé, Phuket, Seoul Incheon, Taichung, Taipei Song Shan – and to Hong Kong.
Last year, Sichuan Airlines (SIC), 1 of many fast-growing Chinese airlines, carried almost 14.5 million passengers, mostly on domestic flights. Just 10 years ago, (SIC), which began operations in July 1988, carried just >2 million passengers annually. Since then, it has grown rapidly and now operates a fleet of 67 A320-series airplanes, as well as 4 wide body A330s. At least +14 more new A320-series airplanes are still to be delivered.
SEE ATTACHED - - "SIC-2013-03 - GROWTH."
(SIC)’s international presence is growing slowly. (SIC)’s major long-haul destination is Vancouver in Canada, which it began serving last June from Chengdu via Shenyang.
(SIC) is 40% owned by the provincial government, with China Southern Airlines (GUN) (39%), Shandong Airlines (SHG) (10%), Shanghai Airlines (SHA) (10%) and Gingko Restaurant (1%) being the other shareholders. It currently ranks as the 6th largest airline in the Chinese domestic market with just >5% of weekly seat capacity.
SEE ATTACHED - - "SIC-TOP 12 DOMESTIC AIRLINES - 2013-03."
(SIC)'s biggest base is Chengdu (China’s 5th busiest airport with >30 million passengers in 2012), where it is the 2nd largest airline, after Air China (BEJ), with around 24% of weekly seat capacity. (SIC) operates >500 weekly departures to >50 destinations, including 7 outside of mainland China. (SIC) has a secondary base at Chongqing, where it is also the #2 carrier, again after Air China (BEJ), with around 15% of weekly seats.
(SIC)'s international destinations are Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Jakarta in Indonesia (both served from Nanning), Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands (both served from Guangzhou and Shanghai), and Vancouver (served from Chengdu via Shenyang). (SIC)’s A330s are used on the routes to Australia, Canada, the Maldives and Saipan, as well as on the domestic route between Chengdu and Haikou.
April 2013: Air Lease Corporation (ALE) has delivered 1 new A330-300 on lease to Sichuan Airlines (SIC) for 12 years.
June 2013: A320-232 (5646, B-9935), CIT Aerospace (TCI) leased and 2 A321-231s (5647, B-9937; 5670, B-9936), deliveries.
July 2013: A330-343E (1432, B-5929), ex-(F-WWCO), Intrepid Aviation (INL) leased.
August 2013: Check out Chengdu development:
September 2013: The Airbus A320 family Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Tianjin, China (FALC) has delivered its 143th airplane since its 1st delivery in June 2009 to Sichuan Airlines (SIC).
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has taken delivery of its 1st sharklet-equipped A321 airplane, the 1st of the type to be operated in China. The A321, powered by (IAE) (V2500) engines, has a 2-class cabin configuration, which seats 194 passengers with 8C in business class and 186Y in economy.
SEE ATTACHED - - "SIC-A321 WITH SHARKLETS - 2013-09."
In 2009, (SIC) received the 1st A320 assembled at the Airbus (EDS) Tianjin Final Assembly.
The A321 is part of a 2011 order for 8 Airbus airplanes, comprising 2 A319s, 4 A320s and 2 A321s.
On August 31, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) operated a fleet of 6 A330s and 75 A320 family airplanes.
November 2013: Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China's 5th carrier to offer international long-haul services, will increase its presence in Australia with a new 2x-weekly, Chongqing - Sydney service launching December 20th 2013 with A330s. The route complements Sichuan's existing Chengdu - Melbourne service and will more easily allow passengers to visit Australia's 2 largest cities. Short connecting flights between Chengdu and Chongqing will complete the loop. The service will further expand the massive influx of Chinese capacity Australia has seen in recent years, including China Southern (GUN)'s A380 deployment to Sydney in October 2013.
Yet to be realised are (SIC)'s bold plans to grow in Europe and North America. While (SIC)'s largest shareholder is the Sichuan government, all 3 of China's main airlines (Air China (BEJ), China Eastern (CEA), and (GUN)) own a stake in Sichuan Airlines (SIC), complicating its aspirations. Slower growth may be wise: the Chengdu - Melbourne service in its 1st 5 months averaged only a 45% LF load factor. While China's secondary and western cities have geographical advantages for European services, for Australia it will be some time before they mature. This is not helped by the fact that (SIC) does not have an English language website.
January 2014: Air Lease Corporation (ALE) announced long-term lease agreements with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) for 2 new Airbus A321-200 airplanes with sharklets powered by (IAE) (V2533) engines, which are scheduled for delivery in May and October 2014.
February 2014: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is establishing a branch company in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, which will become an operational resource center for its large airplane C919, covering Personnel Training, Customer Services, and others. Zhuang Haogang, (CCC)'s General Counsel and Chairman of Chengdu Airlines Company ((IATA) Code: EU) (UEG) will be in charge of preparing for the (COMAC) (CCC) Sichuan Branch.
According to staff from Shanghai-based (COMAC), since the ARJ21 will be delivered to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) before the end of this year, the manufacturer needs to do some airplane maintenance, repair, troubleshooting and other maintenance actions; meanwhile, there are some cooperative projects with (AVIC) Chengdu Aircraft, it is necessary to establish a Chengdu Branch. (UEG) has been joining supervising production of the home-made large airplane C919 and staff training. For example, pilots (FC) and dispatchers of the C919 and ARJ21 will take training in Chengdu Airlines (UEG). The (COMAC) Sichuan Branch will build an overall resource support center including technical talented staff (MT) and spare parts contributing to the large passenger airplane C919 that will soon be soaring through the blue skies.
Establishing a sophisticated aviation industry chain in Sichuan is the main reason for this decision. Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has signed a purchase agreement for 20 C919s and Chengdu Airlines (UEG) will operate the maiden flight of (COMAC)'s regional airplane, the ARJ21. Both of them are customers of domestic large passenger airplanes. On the other hand, in the field of airplane manufacture in its upper levels, (AVIC) Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group), is to become an important part supplier of the C919, by taking the responsibility of producing the C919s and ARJ21s. What's more, as China's 4th largest aviation city, Chengdu enjoys a promising future in terms of the civil aviation market. Therefore Chengdu is the best choice by (COMAC) for building a branch company.
As the main vehicle in implementing large passenger airplane programs in China, (COMAC) has been making increasing investment in Sichuan in recent years. As early as 2009, (COMAC) signed an agreement with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) and the Chengdu Communications Investment Group Company to reconstruct the loss-suffering United Eagle Airlines, which was later renamed as Chengdu Airlines (UEG). At that time, (COMAC) became a major shareholder of the Chengdu-based airline (UEG) with a 48% stake. In September 2013, Chengdu Airlines (UEG) signed a cooperation framework agreement on the C919 program with (COMAC), marking a comprehensive cooperation between the 2 parties. Chengdu Airlines (UEG) became an important part of the domestic large passenger airplane program. During the 2013 Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, (COMAC) inked an investment framework with the local government on civil aviation customer services and an industrial park project, which laid the foundation for constructing a demonstration base for home-made ARJ21 airplanes.
April 2014: Sichuan province capital, Chengdu opened 70 passenger and cargo flights to foreign countries and regions by the end of last month, including 32 scheduled direct routes, the "Chengdu Daily" reported. The inland city used to suffer poor transportation connections with elsewhere but is now expecting far more communication and cooperation with international cities through its advanced aviation network.
By 2015, Chengdu plans to build itself into an international aviation hub with 36 international direct routes carrying 50 million passengers annually. Chengdu opened four international direct services this year, linking to Melbourne, Frankfurt, Doha, and London.
"United Airlines (UAL) will launch a direct flight between Chengdu and San Francisco in June next year." The service will be the 1st direct flight between the USA and western China. Ticket bookings opened at the beginning of November. "The local government is already planning next year's new routes, linking Chengdu to other international cities including Istanbul, Moscow, Paris and Dubai."
The Chengdu Shuangliu International airport is also considering a direct route to Africa.
The airport handled 31.6 million passengers last year, ranking 4th in China in terms of passenger volume. Chengdu is also the 4th city on the Chinese mainland to adopt a 72-hour visa-free policy. A total of 245 "Fortune Global 500" companies had bases in Chengdu by the end of October.
June 2014: 2 A320-232 (5977, B-1821; 6008, B-1820), ex-(B-5131 & B-501L), (ICBC) leased and A321-231 (6148, B-1823), (ALE) leased.
August 2014: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has launched its 1st ever international flights from its new base in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province. On August 4, 2014, (SIC) commenced a new 2x-weekly scheduled service from Harbin to Daegu, the 4th largest city in South Korea. Flights will now operate every Monday and Friday using an A321.
(SIC) has deployed 8 A320 series airplanes at Harbin's Taiping International Airport, which it uses to operate flights to 30 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.
November 2014: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) received its 93rd Airbus A320 airplane (B-1892) following (B-1881) delivered the same month. (SIC) is expected to own a fleet of 106 airplanes by next year and launch non-stop international service linking Chengdu and Kathmandu with Moscow. With the fleet expansion, (SIC) continues to develop domestic and international aviation markets, striving to become a medium-sized carrier integrating trunk line business with regional operations.
December 2014: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has awarded L-3 Link Simulation & Training a contract for an additional Airbus A320 full-flight simulator (FFS), the 5th such system to be installed at the Sichuan Airlines (SIC) Group training center in Chengdu, China.
The A320 (FFS) is due to be operational for training by November 2015. The L-3 Link describes the new model to be built for Sichuan Airlines (SIC) as “1 of the 1st to be equipped with dual heads-up displays (HUD)s, enabling pilots (FC) to view flight information as they simultaneously look outside the simulator cockpit.”
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has 35 A320ceos and 25 A321ceos, currently in operation; 1 A320ceo and 1 A321ceo remain on order and are still to be delivered.
The (FFS) trainer is based on L-3 Link’s RealitySeven simulation architecture and is equipped with L-3 Link’s eM2K motion system; it is designed to Airbus (EDS) standard 1.9.
News Item A-2: On December 6, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) took delivery of A320 (B-1883) with sharklets being its 95th airplane.
January 2015: A319-133 (2431, B-6171) converted from A319-132.
February 2015: Chinese carriers are expanding operations to Chengdu, hoping to gain a larger market share to take advantage of its greater market potential.
March 2015: The new Chengdu airport will start construction by the end of this year, said Tang Limin Director Sichuan National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC).
The new airport will built with a total investment of 69.26 billion yuan, located near Lujia town of Jianyang city, 51.5 km away from the center of Chengdu city. The airport will have 6 runways, with the capacity to handle 90 million passengers per year. In the initial period, 3 runways will be constructed, aiming to handle 40 - 45 million passengers annually. Then, as the passenger flow increases, it will add +3 runways, boosting its capacity to 90 million people.
Including 40 million people, the capacity of Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), Chengdu would handle 130 million air passengers every year.
The new airport's terminal will occupy an area nearly 1.8 times of the Terminal 2 of Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU). Among all domestic airports being planned and constructed, the new regional airport will rank as 2nd only after Beijing's new airport in terms of facility scale.
Upon the completion of its new airport, Chengdu will be the 3rd city owning 2 airports in China after Beijing and Shanghai.
A320-232 (6402, B-1660), ex-(B-519L), China Aircraft Leasing Company leased.
April 2015: News Item A-1: On the afternoon of April 1, a Sichuan Airlines (SIC) A319 airplane landed smoothly at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Katmandu, Nepal, marking the successful launch of the direct Chengdu to Lhasa to Katmandu route.
The inaugural Flight 3U8719 took off from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) at 8:21 am and arrived in (KTM) at 3:15 pm, with a stopover in Lhasa from 10:42 am to 1:17 pm (Beijing time).
The daily service is operated with Flight number 3U8719/20, using A319s. The Osaka-bound Flight 9C8915 is scheduled to take off from (CTU) at 7:30 am and land in Katmandu at 10:10 am, with a stopover in Lhasa from 9:40 am to 11:00 am; while the return trip will depart Nepal at 11:10 am and reach Chengdu at 6:05 pm (all local time).
To celebrate the inaugural flight, (SIC) offered discount tickets for transit passengers.
News Item A-2: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has unveiled plans to launch the 1st ever direct flight between Chengdu and Moscow. Commencing on May 2, 2015, (SIC) will operate 3x-weekly flights to Moscow.
Services will depart Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1500, arriving at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport at 2325. The return flights will then leave the Russian capital at 1:20 am the next morning, getting back into Chengdu at 10:00 am.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) will deploy an Airbus A330-300 on the new route, offerings 36C seats in business class and 265Y in economy.
This marks the latest new direct connection between Chengdu and Europe, following the recent launch of British Airways (BAB)'s services from London, (KLM)'s flights from Amsterdam, and Air China (BEJ)'s service to Frankfurt.
News Item A-3: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) welcomed its 98th Airbus airplane, A320 (B-1661) on April 1st.
May 2015: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has received its 100th airplane from Airbus. Including the latest delivery, its fleet comprises 93 A320 family airplanes and seven A330 family airplanes.
A320-232 (6486, B-1662), ex-(B-507L) (ICBC) Leasing leased, and A321-231 (6581, B-1663), ex-(D-AVXH), Air Lease Corp (ALE) leased.
June 2015: News Item A-1: Check out developments in Chengdu City:
July 2015: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) announced its launch of Haikou to Bangkok service starting on July 16. The 3x-weekly service is to be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, using an Airbus A321 aircraft. The Bangkok-bound flight 3U8575 is scheduled to take off from Haikou at 11:00 am and land in Bangkok at 12:00 pm, with the return flight 3U8576 leaving Bangkok at 1:05 pm and reaching Haikou at 3:55 pm (all local times). Round-trip tickets are as low as 1800 yuan for celebration of the new service launch.
Besides, (SIC) will soon start the Chengdu to Chiang Mai service. The 3x-weekly service will be operated every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Chiang Mai-bound flight 3U8089 is scheduled to take off from Chengdu at 5:30 pm and land in Chiang Mai at 8:30 pm, with the return flight 3U8090 leaving Chiang Mai at 9:30 pm and reaching Chengdu at 0:30 am the next day (all local times). (SIC) plans to increase flight frequency on the Chongqing to Krabi route to daily, using an Airbus A321. The Krabi-bound flight 3U8091 is scheduled to depart from Chongqing at 9:40 pm and arrive in Krabi at 0:00 am the next day, with the return flight 3U8092 taking off from Krabi at 1:00 am and landing in Chongqing at 5:20 am (all local times).
News Item A-2: "Chengdu Set to Take Off with New Airport" By Li Fusheng, "China Daily" July 10, 2015.
The present Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu has 244 routes to 119 Chinese cities and 71 overseas destinations.
SEE ATTACHED CHART "SIC-2015-07 - Chengdu Airport Destinations.jpg."
The airport saw 37.5 million passengers pass through in 2014, ranking it 5th among all 202 civil airports on the Chinese mainland. The figure is expected to reach >40 million this year.
Local officials said a new and larger airport will be built and more international air routes will be available, making Chengdu (as Sichuan Province's capital), even more closely connected to countries around the world.
The new airport will be located 31 miles SE of downtown Chengdu and will be much larger than Shuangliu International Airport.
The facility will make Chengdu the 3rd city on the Chinese mainland to have a 2nd airport, after Beijing and Shanghai.
The 1st phase of the new airport will be finished by 2018, with annual capacity to handle 40 million passengers and 700,000 metric tons of cargo. The long-term goal is for the airport to handle 90 million passengers and 2 million metric tons of cargo annually.
Highways, subways and intercity railways are also planned to link the new airport to downtown Chengdu and other parts of the city.
The General Manager of the Sichuan Province Airport Group, Pan Gangjun said the new airport would mainly serve international routes, while Shuangliu International Airport will handle domestic flights. "Shuangliu Airport is positioned as a regional aviation hub, while the new airport aims to become the 4th major national-level international hub," he said.
The construction of a 2nd airport will help create an "air Silk Road" to Europe, said Tang Limin Director of Sichuan's Development & Reform commission.
Located in the core of SW China, the new airport could develop into the largest 1 on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone and become China's gateway to Europe, South Asia, SE Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, Pan said.
Chengdu already has the largest number of international routes in China's central and western regions.
The city operates 83 international routes to destinations around the world, including San Francisco, London, Frankfurt, Doha, and Melbourne.
On May 2, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) launched direct routes from Chengdu to Moscow, making it the 1st city in SW China to offer direct flights to the Russian capital.
British Airways (BAB) and (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines promoted their nonstop service between Chengdu and Europe in late May.
United Airlines (UAL), which operates the only direct route between western China and the USA, runs a daily nonstop service from Chengdu to San Francisco.
In addition to air transport, Chengdu connects to Europe by an express railway. The rail route, which roughly follows the ancient Silk Road, sets out from Chengdu to Lodz, Poland, 9,826 km away.
Items ranging from shoes to auto parts and computers are collected from Chengdu and other parts of the country and shipped overland to Europe in 12 days. Chengdu now produces 20% of the world's computers and two-thirds of the globe's iPads. Half of the world's laptop computer chips are also encapsulated and tested in the city.
The express rail is part of Chengdu's efforts to turn itself into an international transport hub and realize its goal of becoming China's western gateway, officials said. The line is an artery for economic exchanges between the continents of Asia and Europe, and influences the development of China's western region, Europe, and Russia.
Since the launch of the Chengdu to Europe express railway in April 2013, commodities worth $580 million have been exported to Europe.
With its location at the intersection of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone, Chengdu itself is "running on a fast track" just like the express, said a local official.
News Item A-3: On July 23, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Harbin Municipal Government, aiming at strengthening (SIC)'s presence in Northeast China.
Last June, (SIC) set up a new operating base in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, marking that (SIC) made a strategic step in its comprehensive development in the region.
As early as 2011, (SIC) set an overnight stop in Harbin with 3 Airbus A319s. With 3 years' development, (SIC) has enriched its route structure, and replaced overnight aircraft with A321s in 2012. Now, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has deployed 8 aircraft at the Harbin base, which is expected to expand to 10 by the end of this year. The operating base operates about 22x-weekly on 21 routes to 27 domestic cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Kunming.
Under the new agreement, the local government will provide full-scale support for (SIC)'s development in the region, creating a favorable investment environment for its growth. Meanwhile, (SIC) will upgrade its base to a branch company, to further enhance its NE network, develop Harbin to be a regional hub, and make a contribution to the local economy.
News Item A-4: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) took delivery of its 102nd airplane, with a new Airbus A321 (B-8328) landing smoothly at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) at 10:53 am.
Currently, (SIC) operates 102 aircraft, being China's largest all-Airbus fleet. Headquartered in Chengdu, the regional carrier has 2 branch companies in Chongqing and Kunming, with 5 operating bases in Beijing, Hangzhou, Harbin, Sanya, and Xi'an.
A320-214 (6713, B-8326), ex-(D-AXAC) and A321-211 (6703, B-8328), ex-(D-AVZR) deliveries.
August 2015: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has launched its 10th international route, and 3rd to Thailand from its base at Chengdu (CTU). On August 5, (SIC) introduced 3x-weekly flights (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) on the 1,403 km route to Chiang Mai (CNX) using its A321s. The return flight arrives back in China at 00:30 the following day. Competition on the route is provided by Thai AirAsia (THA) with daily flights and China Eastern Airlines (CEA) with 3x-weekly flights. (SIC) already serves Krabi and Phuket from Chengdu. In addition to the 10 international routes, (SIC) also serves 50 domestic destinations from Chengdu, making it the 2nd busiest carrier at the airport after Air China (BEJ). Last year, Chiang Mai handled 6.6 million passengers.
News Item A-2: China's largest all-Airbus fleet operator Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is set to reschedule services to South Korea's Jeju from September.
Starting September 14, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is scheduled to launch the 3x-weekly Chongqing to Jeju service on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, using an Airbus A321 aircraft. The Jeju-bound flight 3U8269 is scheduled to take off from Chongqing at 5:35 pm and land in Jeju at 9:35 pm, with the return flight 3U 8270 leaving Jeju at 10:35 pm and reaching Chongqing at 1:00 am the next day (all local times).
Besides, (SIC) plans to resume its Chengdu to Jeju service from September 10. The 3x-weekly service will be operated every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, using an A321 aircraft. The Jeju-bound flight 3U8077 is scheduled to depart from Chengdu at 2:15 am and arrive in Jeju at 6:30 am, with the return flight 3U8078 leaving Jeju at 7:30 am and reaching Chengdu at 10:00 am (all local times).
September 2015: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China’s 6th biggest domestic carrier, has launched 2x-weekly flights to Dubai (DXB) from Chengdu (CTU) via Yinchuan (INC). The 1st service took place on September 4 using (SIC)’s A330-300s. No other carrier operates between these 2 Chinese cities and Dubai. At 4,934 km, the Yinchuan to Dubai sector is the 5th longest flown by (SIC) after Chengdu to Melbourne (8,690 km), Chongqing to Sydney (8,478 km), Shenyang to Vancouver (8,000 km) and Chengdu to Moscow Sheremetyevo (5,797 km). Yinchuan becomes only the 6th Chinese airport with non-stop flights to and from Dubai after Beijing (Air China (BEJ) and Emirates (EAD)), Guangzhou (China Southern Airlines (GUN) and Emirates (EAD)), Kunming (China Eastern Airlines (CEA)), Shanghai Pudong (Emirates (EAD) and Urumqi (China Southern (GUN)).
News Item A-2: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) plans to operate 24 Airbus A320neo aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1100G) geared turbofan (GTF) engines.
(SIC)’s A320neo fleet plan was revealed by (SIC) signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pratt (PRW) to purchase the (PW1100G) engines to power the aircraft. According to (PRW), Sichuan (SIC)’s A320neo fleet will consist of 15 owned and 9 leased aircraft with deliveries starting in 2017. A (SIC) order for A320neos has never been announced, but China Southern Airlines (GUN), which owns nearly 40% of Sichuan, has ordered 50 A320neos and also agreed to lease 24 A320neos from AerCap Holdings (DEA).
The engine selection marks the 1st time a Chinese airline has chosen the (GTF) to power purchased A320neos. (CFM) International (LEAP-1A) engines are also an option on A320neo family aircraft.
China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC) delivered the final 3rd new Airbus A320 to Sichuan Airlines (SIC) at the Airbus facilities in Tianjin, China.
News Item A-3: China Southern Airlines (GUN) has selected Thales (THL) Dual Head Up Displays (HUD) configuration across 30 of their new Airbus A320s, alongside the company’s Flight Management System (FMS) and Low Range Radio Altimeter (LRRA). The order represents Thales (THL)'s largest contract for (HUD)s and the 1st for a dual configuration system since the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) made it mandatory for all Chinese registered aircraft to be equipped with (HUD)s.
The dual configuration developed by (THL) was certified by Airbus (EDS) in early 2015. The group will equip its (HUD)s across China Eastern (CEA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), and China Loong Air (CDC), as well as Spring Airways (CQH.
A320-214 (6654, B-8831), ex-(B-000J), China Aircraft Leasing Group leased and A320-214 (6677, B-8323), ex-(B-000R) delivery.
December 2015: "Sichuan Airlines (SIC) Expands Services in SE Asia" by Winnie Lu, China Aviation Daily, December 31, 2015.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) launched a scheduled overseas flight linking Sanya with Bangkok. This is another SE Asia route recently launched, following the Sanya to Nha Trang, Sanya to Penang to Kuala Lumpur, Sanya to Phuket, and Sanya to Da Nang international services.
(SIC) operates the 3x-weekly service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, using an A320 aircraft. The Bangkok-bound flight is scheduled to take off from Sanya at 7:25 pm and land in Bangkok at 8:45 pm, with the return flight leaving Bangkok at 10:00 pm and reaching Sanya at 2:05 am the next day.
It's learned that from next January, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is set to start +3 more services from Sanya to Ho Chi Min, Da Nang, and Kaohsiung. Before the end of next March, (SIC) will continue to launch 3 new services linking Sanya with Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Siem Reap.
New routes will certainly strengthen (SIC)'s competitiveness in Southeast Asia, and offer Chinese travelers boutique tourism products to choose and enjoy.
January 2016: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has further expanded its international network from Chengdu (CTU). Following the launch of flights to Tokyo, there has been the addition of Osaka Kansai (KIX) and Singapore (SIN) to (SIC)’s route map. On January 19, a 3x-weekly operation on the 2,953 km sector to Osaka was introduced, going head-to-head with Spring Airlines (CQH) (4x-weekly flights) and Air China (BEJ) (3x-weekly flights). On January 25, (SIC) added daily flights on the 3,246 km link to Singapore, a route already flown by SilkAir (SLK) (10x-weekly flights) and Air China (BEJ) (daily flights). Both of these new routes will be operated by (SIC)’s A320s. This brings to 13 the number of international destinations served non-stop by Sichuan Airlines (SIC) from Chengdu, spread across 9 countries. Apart from Japan and Singapore, (SIC) also serves destinations in Australia, Hong Kong, Maldives, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
News Item A-2: China Aircraft Leasing Group (CHD) signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Jetstar Pacific Airlines (PAH) for 2 Airbus A320 aircraft, in addition to the agreement for 2 aircraft signed in November 2015. All 4 A320 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2016. (CHD) also signed lease agreements with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) for the lease of 3 A320s on a 144-month lease term. The 3 aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2016.
February 2016: News Item A-1: "Sichuan Airlines Applies for Chengdu to Hangzhou to Los Angeles Service" by Lena Ge, China Aviation Daily, Febuary 19, 2016.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is waiting government approval to launch a new round-trip service linking Chengdu with Los Angeles from June 2016, with a stopover at Hangzhou, Jiangsu Province according to a notice on the (CAAC)'s website.
Pending government approval, (SIC) will operate the Chengdu to Hangzhou to Los Angles service 3x-weekly, using Airbus A330 aircraft.
Earlier this month, (CAAC) released Sichuan Airlines (SIC)'s application for Chengdu to Jinan to Los Angles route in June 2016.
News Item A-2: (UTS) Aerospace Systems Goodrich Aerostructures Service China was selected by Sichuan Airlines (SIC) to provide nacelle asset support and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for (SIC)'s fleet of Airbus A320ceo (V2500)-powered aircraft. This agreement is an extension of an existing Prime Solutions support agreement. Support will be provided in Tianjin, China.
June 2016: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has ordered 15 Airbus A320 aircraft, valued at CNY9.6 billion/$1.46 billion at list prices, to meet the fast-growing Chinese market demand.
(SIC) operates a fleet of 108 Airbus (EDS) aircraft on >240 domestic and international routes. It plans to expand its fleet to >180 aircraft by 2020.
September 2016: Sichuan Airlines (SIC), rapidly building up a long-haul business, will introduce the A350 into its fleet in 2017.
(SIC), which is owned by the Sichuan provincial government in SW China, has signed agreements to lease 3 A350s from AerCap (DEA) and 1 from Air Lease Corporation (ALE), Airbus (EDS) said. (SIC) plans to use the aircraft for North American services.
The deal cements Airbus (EDS)’s position as nearly the sole manufacturer of commercial aircraft for Sichuan Airlines (SIC). (SIC)
has 4 A330-200s and 4 A330-300s in service, plus orders for +3 more A330-300s. The narrow body aircraft fleet is comprised entirely of A320-family aircraft. (SIC) also has orders for 20 Comac C919s and operates a Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter.
(SIC)’s expansion into long-haul operations has been particularly driven by the interest of its provincial owner, along with the city government in Chengdu, China, to build up Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport as China’s 4th intercontinental gateway and the governments’ willingness to financially support the necessary flights.
(SIC) has also opened intercontinental services in other Chinese cities, such as 1 between Hangzhou and Los Angeles scheduled to start in October. That service was originally supposed to commence in June.
Bradley Perrett, email@example.com
October 2016: 2 A321-211 (7320, B-8605; 7369, B-8438), ex-(D-AVYO & D-AZAC) deliveries.
November 2016: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has filed an application with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to launch a 3x-weekly nonstop service from Tianjin to Kathmandu, India, with a stopover in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.
Commencing December 2016, (SIC) will operate its A319s on the Tianjin to Xi'an to Kathmandu service, the (CAAC) said. Sichuan Airlines (SIC) now operates 3x-weekly to Kathmandu from Chengdu via Lhasa. It will be the only operator on the Tianjin to Xi'an to Kathmandu route.
The Air Transportation Department of (CAAC) is soliciting public comments on the application until 5 pm on December 1, 2016.
A321-211 (7498, B-8961), ex-(D-AVZU) delivery.
February 2017: News Item A-1: Chinese airlines are rapidly increasing flights to the Philippines following the relaxing of visa requirements between the 2 countries in October 2016. Since then, 675,700 Chinese tourists visited the Philippines in 2016, up +37.1% over 2015. Local industry analysts predicted this figure will continue to grow quickly this year. Over the past 3 months, >10 Chinese carriers (including China Eastern (CEA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Juneyao Airlines (JYA), Spring Airlines (CQH), Xiamen Airlines (XIA) and Capital Airlines (DER)) have applied to open nearly 40 international routes to Kalibo and Cebu in the Philippines. Tianjin Airlines (GCR) has applied to open 5 international routes to the Philippines from Tianjin, Ningbo, Xi’an, Wuhan, Nanjing and Chongqing.
7 Chinese carriers currently operate routes to the Philippines with 24,000 weekly flights. Local analysts point out many domestic airlines need to find new SE Asian markets (such as the Philippines) to make up for decreased demand in the Thailand market after the government tightened tourism restrictions following the death of Thailand’s king last year. However, analysts also expressed concern about the Philippine’s infrastructure and aviation safety that may impact the fast-growing Sino-Philippine market.
September 2017: "Sichuan Airlines Takes Delivery of Its 1st Airbus A320neo" China Aviation Daily, September 06, 2017.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) took delivery of its 1st Airbus A320neo aircraft on September 5. (SIC), the largest all-Airbus-fleet carrier in China, now operates 126 Airbus aircraft including 116 A320 Family aircraft and 10 A330 Family aircraft.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) Pure Power engines, Sichuan's A320neo aircraft features a comfortable 2-class cabin layout, (8C business and 150Y economy class seats). The airline will operate the new aircraft on its domestic and international routes.
The partnership between Sichuan Airlines (SIC) and Airbus (EDS) dates back to 1995 when the airline introduced the A320, becoming the 1st airline to operate an Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft in mainland China. (SIC) was also the 1st operator to take Tianjin assembled Airbus aircraft when it received an A320 from Airbus A320 Family Assembly Line in Tianjin in 2009. In 2010, (SIC) received its 1st A330 aircraft. In 2016, (SIC) also signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for leasing 4 A350-900s.
The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver >15% fuel savings at entry into service (EIS) and up to 20% by 2020. With more >5,000 orders received from >90 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60% market share.
November 2017: (AFI) (KLM) (E&M) has a Sichuan Airlines (SIC) contract to provide Airbus A350 component support and component support contract from IndiGo (IGO) for 30 ATR 72-600s.
April 2018: News Item A-1: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has secured approval to use 5th freedom rights to extend a route from Chengdu, China to Prague, Czech Republic and onto Zurich, Switzerland beginning June 23. The new 2x-weekly Chengdu to Prague to Zurich, Airbus A330 service is expected to become the 1st 5th freedom flight from Chengdu to transport passengers to a 3rd country.
News Item A-2: A330-343E (1856, B-8589), ex-(F-WWCM).
May 2018: News Item A-1: "INCDT: Sichuan Airlines Jet Makes Emergency Landing After Cockpit Windshield Breaks Off" by Brenda Goh, "Reuters" May 14, 2018.
INCDT: A Sichuan Airlines (SIC) flight made an emergency landing in the SW Chinese city of Chengdu on May 14 after a windshield on the right side of the Airbus A319 jet's cockpit broke off.
No passengers were injured in the incident but the pilot (FC) sitting in the right seat, who is usually the first officer, suffered scratches and a waist sprain, the Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) (CAC) SW Regional Administration said on its website. A cabin crew (CA) member was also injured in the descent, without providing details on what had caused the windshield to break off.
The flight left the central Chinese municipality of Chongqingand and was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, the authority said.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC) said on its official Weibo account that the flight had experienced a "mechanical failure" without providing further details. It said it had switched the flight's passengers to another aircraft to carry on their journey to Lhasa.
Pictures published by government-run "Chengdu Economic Daily" showed the plane missing one of its cockpit windows and damage to its cockpit controls. Chinese social media users praised the pilots (FC) for landing the flight safely without incurring any passenger injuries.
Sichuan Airlines (SIC), a regional airline headquartered in Chengdu, operates mostly domestic flights, but also flies internationally to countries such as Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic.
Incidents involving cracked windshields do happen on a regular basis due to occurrences such as bird or lightning strikes, but ones involving entire windshields coming off are rare. In 1990, 1 of the pilots (FC) on British Airways (BAB) Flight 5390 was blown partially out of the cabin window after its windshield blew out at 23,000 feet. He survived the incident, which occurred on a BAC-111 jet.
An engine on a Southwest Airlines (SWA) 737 in April ripped apart in flight and shattered a cabin window, killing a female passenger in the 1st USA airline passenger fatality since 2009. On May 3, another (SWA) flight made an emergency landing after a cabin window pane cracked in flight.
News Item A-2: Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is considering joining an alliance to pave the way for rapid international expansion. According to a company source, (SIC) has set up a task force to conduct feasible studies on whether to join an international alliance and, if so, which one. No timetable on a selection has been given. Sichuan Airlines (SIC)’s stakeholders include China Eastern (CEA), China Southern (GUN) and Shandong airlines (SHG). Local industry analysts speculate (SIC) may decide to join the SkyTeam (STM) Alliance.
June 2018: Newqs Item: INCDT: A Sichuan Airlines (SIC) pilot (FC) has been awarded roughly US$776,912 for calmly landing a flight after his co-pilot (FC) was "sucked halfway" out of the cockpit window, the "Daily Mail" reported.
The Chinese pilot (FC), Liu Chuanjian was awarded the nearly 5 million yuan and the title of "hero captain of China's civil aviation," the Xinhua News Agency reported. Chuanjian was operating the plane to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, when a windshield suddenly shattered at 32,000 feet above ground and pulled his co-pilot (FC), who was wearing his seatbelt, out of the window.
"Suddenly, the windshield just cracked and made a loud bang" he said. "The next thing I know, my co-pilot (FC) had been sucked halfway out of the window." Chunajian was forced to immediately land the Airbus A319 carrying 119 passengers.
The co-pilot (FC) reportedly suffered only minor scratches. None of the passengers were injured. Other members of the airline crew were also awarded for successfully handling the emergency, the "Daily Mail" reported. Xu Ruichen, the 27-year-old co-pilot (FDC) received 1 million yuan/US $156,228. The deputy captain, Liang Peng, was awarded 2 million yuan/US $312,456), and 6 other crew members (CA) were given 1 million yuan between them, Xinhua reported. The May 14 incident was investigated by authorities.
According to a "Wall Street Journal" report, China Southern Airlines (GUN) said a "mechanical failure" was to blame.
News Item A-2: China’s Sichuan Airlines (SIC) is seeking approval from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) to open service to Boston, Massachusetts, accelerating its international expansion.
(SIC), the Chengdu-based carrier plans to launch the service on December 17 with 2x-weekly flights operated by an A350-900, which is slated to be delivered soon. (SIC) is expected to introduce 4 A350-900 aircraft, configured with 28C business and 303Y economy-class seats, in 2019. (SIC) secured clearance from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for the new service December 25, 2017.
(SIC) plans to transport 55,608 passengers on this new service with an average load factor of 75% LF and earn $24.6 million in operating revenue for the 1st year.
(SIC) has been challenged by overcapacity in the Sino to USA market. Currently, (SIC) operates 2 Sino to USA routes: Chengdu to Hangzhou to Los Angeles (opened in October 2016) and Chengdu to Jinan to Los Angeles opened in December 2016).
In 2017, (SIC) transported 24,000 passengers on the Hangzhou to Los Angeles route and 28,000 passengers on the Jinan to Los Angeles route. The average load factor on these 2 routes was <60% LF.
Notably, Hainan Airlines (HNA) opened Beijing to Boston service in 2014 and launched Shanghai to Boston service in 2015. Last year, (HNA) carried 160,100 passengers on its Beijing to Boston route with an average load factor of 78% LF, and transported 61,000 passengers on the Shanghai to Boston route with an average load factor of 74.7% LF.
July 2018: A321-271N (8217, B-8598), ex-(D-AVXN), AerCap (DEA) leased.
August 2018: Sichuan Airlines (SIC), the largest all Airbus (EDS) fleet carrier in China, has taken delivery of its 1st A350-900 leased from AerCap (DEA) in Toulouse on August 11.
(SIC) currently operates an all Airbus fleet of 135 aircraft, which includes 123 A320 Family aircraft and 12 A330 Family aircraft.
AerCap’s President & Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Philip Scruggs, said: "We are very proud to deliver to our longest-standing Chinese customer of 23 years, Sichuan Airlines (SIC), their 1st A350.” “We are particularly proud that the aircraft will be the 1st A350 AerCap (DEA) delivers to mainland China.” “The A350 aircraft will form the main pillar of (SIC)’s growth plans into the next decade, enabling (SIC) to provide a level of service and to fly to markets that were not possible prior to today,” Scruggs concluded.
Sichuan Airlines’ Chairman, Li Haiying, shared that “the successful delivery of this A350-900 will further strengthen the relationship between the 2 companies, and open a new chapter of cooperation and innovative achievements.”
AerCap (DEA) leased to (SIC) its 1st A320 back in 1995, which became the 1st aircraft of its type in China. Then in 2010, (SIC) took delivery of their 1st A330, also leased from (DEA).
The A350-900 is powered by Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent XWB) engines and features a 2-class cabin layout that seats a total of 331 passengers, including 28C in business class, and 303Y in economy.
(SIC) plans to commence operations with the wide body on its domestic flight network, following the addition of its international “Panda Routes.”
According to Airbus (EDS), the A350-900 offers improved levels of efficiency and passenger comfort to the long-range market, thus satisfying Asia-Pacific carriers needs, which represent >3rd of total sales for the jet type.
Airbus (EDS), by the end of July 2018, recorded 890 firm orders for the A350 from 46 different clients around the world, becoming 1 of its most successful wide body aircraft ever manufactured.
Click below for photos:
SIC-A320 - 2014-12
SIC-A320 - 98th Airbus - 2015-04.jpg
SIC-A320 1ST CHINESE-2009-06
SIC-A320-200 - 2015-06.jpg
SIC-A320neo - 2017-09.jpg
SIC-A321 WITH SHARKLETS - 2013-09
SIC-A330-300 - 2015-04.jpg
SIC-A330-300 - 2015-08.jpg
SIC-A350-900 1st August 11 2018.jpg
0 737-37K (CFM56-3C1) (2655-27375, /94, B-2946), (ZHO) WET-LEASED 1 YEAR 2000-05, RETURNED. 140Y.
0 737-700 (CFM56-7B), (XIJ) LEASED 2001-11. RETURNED.
1 A319-132 (V2524-A5) (2431, /05 B-6171), (GCP) LEASED 2007-04. 8C, 124Y.
14 A319-133 (V2527M-A5) (2313, /04 B-6043; 2348, /04 B-6045; 2408; 2426; 2431, B-6171, 2015-01; 2435; 2510, /05 B-6054; 2534, /05 B-2298; 2597, /05 B-2299; 2639, /05 B-2300; 3680, /08 B-6185; 3962, /09 B-6406; 4018, /09 B-6410). 1 WET-LEASED TO (NTE) 2007-12. 8C, 124Y.
2 ORDERS A319:
3 A319-133 (V2527M-A5) (3114, /07 B-6174; 3116, /07 B-6175; 3124, /07 B-6176), (ILF) LEASED 2007-05. 8C, 124Y.
1 A319-133 (V2527M-A5) (5208, B-6422), EX-(D-AVYU) 2012-07. 8C, 124Y.
4 ORDERS (2014) A320:
14 ORDERS A320 (V2500 SELECTONE):
15 ORDERS A320:
1 A320neo, 2017-09. WITH SHARKLETS. 8C, 150Y.
1 A320-214 (6713, B-8326), EX-(D-AXAC) 2015-07.
1 A320-214 (6654, B-8831), EX-(B-000J), CHINA AIRCRAFT LEASING GROUP LEASED 2015-09.
1 A320-214 (6677, B-8323), EX-(B-000R), 2015-09.
2 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (573, /96 B-6025, 2003-04; 582, /96 B-6026, 2003-04), EX-(MCU), (ILF) 5 YEAR LEASED. 573; RETURNED FROM HEBEI AIRLINES (NTE) 2011-11. 8C, 156Y.
18 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (540, /95 B-2340; 551, /95 B-2341; 872, B-6256, 2005-07, EX-(SLK); 874, B-6257, 2005-09; 919, /98 B-2373; 947, /98 B-2348), 3 (ILF) LEASED, HAECO MAINTENANCE (CAT). (1013, B-2397), EX-(CEA). (3158, B-6322, 2007-06; 3167, B-6323, 2007-07; 3196, B-6325, 2007-08; 3210, B-6321, 2007-08; 3386, B-6347, 2008-02; 3449, B-6348, 2008-03; 3591, B-6388, 2009-06*; 3893, B-6590, 2009-04; 4288, B-6697, 2010-05; 4326, B-6700, 2010-06; 4410; 4424, B-6719, 2010-09; 4491; 4525/TJ44)* B-6772; 4619, B-6771). 540; RETURNED. * CHINESE ASSEMBLED AIRBUS AIRPLANE. 8C, 156Y.
3 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3591, B-6388, 2009-06 - - SEE ATTACHED "SIC-1ST CHINESE A320-JUN09;" 4068, /09 B-6621, 2009-10; 4905, B-6843, 2011-11), AERDRAGON AVIATION PARTNERS LEASED. 8C, 156Y.
3 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (5977, B-1821, 2014-06; 6008, B-1820, 2014-06; 6486, B-1662, 2015-05), (ICBC) LEASED. 8C, 156Y.
1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (5646, /13 B-9935), (TCI) LEASED. 8C, 156Y.
2 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (6402, B-1660), CHINA AIRCRAFT LEASING COMPANY LEASED 2015-03 & 2015-09, EX-(B-519L). 8C, 156Y.
1 A320-233 (V2527E-A5) (556, /96 B-2342), (ILF) LEASED 1996-02. 8C, 156Y.
2 A320-233 (V2527E-A5) (902, /98 B-6049; 1007, /99 B-6027), (PSS) LEASED 2004-07. 8C, 156Y.
1 A320-233 (V2527E-A5) (912, /98 B-2348), (TCI) LEASED 2004-05. 8C, 156Y.
1 A321-131 (V2530-A5) (550, /95 B-2286), EX-(MCU), (ILF) 5 YEAR LEASED 2003-08. 8C, 186Y.
1 A321-131 (V2530-A5) (591, /95 B-2293), (ILF) 5 YEAR LEASED 2004-08. 8C, 186Y.
2 A321-200 (V2533), (ALE) LEASED. WITH SHARKLETS.
5 A321-211 (6703, B-8328; 7198, B-8601, 2016-06; 7320, B-8605, 2016-10; 7369, B-8438, 2016-10; 7498, B-8961, 2017-01), EX-(D-AVZR, D-AVZN, D-AVZU; D-AVYQ; D-AZAC).
6 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (878, /98 B-2370; 915, /98 B-2371; 1060, B- 2006-02; 1293, 2006-08; 3730, B-6551, 2008-12; 3893; 3996, B-6598, 2009-07), 1ST IN CHINA, (ILF) 8 YEAR LEASED. 8C, 186Y.
5 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (4420, B-6718, 2010-08; 4923, B-6845, 2011-11; B-8328, 2015-07; 5647, B-9937, 2013-06; 5670, B-9936, 2013-06), EX-(D-AZAF & D-AVZI). 8C, 186Y.
1 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (6148, B-1823, 2014-06; 6581, B-1663, 2015-05), (ALE) LEASED. 8C, 186Y.
1 A321-271N (8217, B-8598), EX-(D-AVXN), AERCAP (DEA) LEASED 2018-07.
1 A330-300, (ALE) 12 YEAR LEASED 2013-04, 36C, 265Y.
3 A330-343 (TRENT 700) (1082, B-6581, 2010-02), (DEA) LEASED, 36C, 265Y.
1 A330-343E (1432, B-5929), EX-(F-WWCO), INTREPID AVIATION (INL) LEASED 2013-07. 36C, 265Y.
1 A330-343E (1856, B-8589), EX-(F-WWCM) 2018-04.
1 +2 ORDERS A350-900 (TRENT XWB), (DEA) LEASED AUGUST 11th, 2018. 28C, 303Y:
1 ORDER A350-900 (TRENT XWB) (2019) (ALE) LEASED 28C, 303Y:
5 +5 OPTIONS ERJ-145 (AE3007A1-2) (317, /00 B-3040; 349, /00 B-3041; 352, /00 B-3042; 377, /01 B-3043; 470, /01 B-3045), 2 WET-LEASED TO (NTE) 2007-12. 50Y.
5 ORDERS BOMBARDIER DASH 8.
20 ORDERS (2016) (COMAC) C919:
2 +8 ORDERS XIAN MA60 (PW127J) (01-01, /00 B-3425; 02-02, /00 B-3426), 02-02; STORED. 56Y.
0 TU-154M (D-30KU-154-II) (92A-894) SOLD TO (STG) 2001-12. 1 WET-LEASED TO (HNA). 164Y.
1 XAC Y7-100 (WJ 5A-1), 52Y.
LI HAIYING, CHAIRMAN.
ZHOU CHI, VICE CHAIRMAN.
XU JIE BO, VICE CHAIRMAN.
XU FENG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO).
LIN GUANGWU, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO).
GUANGXIN DU, PRESIDENT ASSISTANT & DIRECTOR FLIGHT OPERATIONS.
YANG JIANXIN, VP FLIGHT OPERATIONS & SAFETY.
LIN ZHU, VP & CHIEF PILOT.
WANG TINGHUI, VP TECHNICAL.
LI HAIYING, VP ENGINEERING, SUPPLIES & FINANCE.
WANG LIUXING, VP HUMAN RESOURCES (HR) & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT).
MU XINHONG, VP SALES & MARKETING.
LI SHAOWU, ENGINEERING DIRECTOR.
YOULIN TANG, MAINTENANCE MANAGER (2000-04).