Kunming, China-based Ruili Airlines has moved one step closer towards launching operations after being granted an operating license by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
Ruili is wholly-owned by Yunnan Jingcheng Group and has a registered capital of CNY600 million ($96.8 million). It is expected to operate three Boeing 737s initially and plans to expand its fleet to 45 aircraft by 2020.
In August Ruili ordered 18 Boeing 737 series aircraft. The order comprised eight -700s and six -800 aircraft direct from Boeing, plus two -700s and two -800s from airberlin.
Yunnan Jingcheng Group chairman Dong Lecheng said operations are now expected to start in April.
In May 2013, Ruili Airlines became the first privately-run carrier to receive CAAC approval after the regulator opened the door to Chinese startups. Loong Airlines, another privately-run airline, started operations in December, but other new carriers, including Qingdao Airlines, are still working towards their launch dates.