China’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Ruili Airlines has applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to open international routes.
Launched in 2004, the Kunming-based LCC operates 11 aircraft on 26 domestic routes with 66 daily departures. The carrier plans to expand its fleet to 40 aircraft by 2020 and to 80 by 2025.
In July 2016, Ruili finalized an order for six Boeing 787-9s, paving the way for international expansion as China’s outbound passenger traffic continues to grow.
Industry analysts noted domestic carriers have reported declining yields on international routes resulting from overcapacity as more carriers open international routes—especially on service from Chinese secondary cities including Kunming, Xi’an and Xiamen. An industry source told ATW, “2017 would be a life and death year for these new intercontinental routes.”