China: Grand China Express airline wants more aircraft from Brazil’s Embraer

9 September 2008

Beijing, China, 9 Sept – Chinese air carrier, Grand China Express plans to acquire 100 E-190 Embraer aircraft over the next few years for its fleet, according to English-language newspaper China Daily.

Grand China Express, which is owned by the Hainan Airlines group (HNA), had already ordered 50 E-190 and 50 ERJ-145 aircraft in August in a deal worth an estimated US$2.7 billion.

The China Daily also reported that during the current year Embraer would deliver seven E-190 aircraft to Grand China Express and an Embraer ERJ-145 each month until it reaches the total of 50 ordered aircraft

The aircraft will be built at the Harbin factory where, since 2003, Embraer has had a joint venture with Chinese companies Harbin Aircraft and Hafei Aviation Industry, which are both controlled by China Aviation Industry Corporation II.

Harbin Embraer Aircraft, which is located in Harbin, capital of the province of Heilongjiang, produces aircraft for the Chinese market that are similar to the ones manufactured at the company’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, 90 kilometres from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

If Grand China Express’ forecast is confirmed, over the next few years Embraer will sell 150 aircraft to the airline: 100 E-190s and 50 ERJ-145s.

The managing director of Embraer China, Guan Dongyuan, said that in China airline fleets were made up of just 6 percent of aircraft with a capacity of 150 seats or less, whereas worldwide that figure was 30 percent.

According to Guan, despite growth of the Chinese aviation market of 15 percent per year, of the 1.5 million flights carried out each year, just 30 percent were carried out with 100-seater aircraft.

“On 70 percent of the 112 Chinese routes the number of seats bought is less than 300, which justifies having smaller aircraft,” said Guan.

In the opinion of the managing director of Embraer China, the CHinese aviation market will need, in the short term, at least 1,100 aircraft of the type manufactured by Embraer.

Chen Feng, chairman of Hainan Airlines, which controls Grand China Express, said that the company’s strategy was to operate in west China and in smaller cities.

“We have chosen Tiajin and Xian as our operating bases with an eye to cover north, northeast, northwest and southwest China,” he said.

Grand China Express has 38 aircraft that fly to 55 cities and controls 40 percent of China’s regional aviation market. (macauhub)