Until recently China has rigidly enforced aircraft buying, through centralised purchasing, which has made sure the fleet is modern. Benefits of this include a revolution in the safety image of Chinese airlines, as well as offsetting China's pilot shortage (by forbidding the import of 3 man cockpit types). In addition money has been saved by purchasing huge bulk discounted orders from Airbus and Boeing which in turn have led to simplified spares purchasing and maintenance costs. The fleet is so modern that nowadays older aircraft are exported to the USA for Delta and United to use! All of this means that the narrowbody fleets of the majors are rapidly filling up with sharklet and blended winglet equipped ultra-modern types.
Air China's A320 fleet was small until 2009, consisting of 5 ex-CNAC Zheijiang aircraft, even though a sizeable number of A319s and A321s had been added. This all changed from December 2009 however and now the A320 fleet stands at nearly forty aircraft (though A321s still outnumber them).
As you can see very poor quaity control from Phoenix, the manufacturer, has ruined the beauty of this model but I'm not going to let that stop me.
The first sharklet equipped A320 for Air China arrived at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on September 26, 2014 after a thirteen hour flight from Toulouse. The aircraft joined 7 older A320s with the Hubei branch office and was configured with 8 first class and 150 economy class seats.
The aircraft is used on trunk routes from Wuhan to destinations such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou as well as its international services like Wuhan-Qingdao-Seoul. Air China’s Hubei branch has shown double digit growth for five years and carried almost 1.5 million passengers in 2013. Air China itself has committed itself to increasing its A320 fleet with an order for 100 aircraft signed with Airbus in May 2013 of which 60 will serve directly with Air China itself.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: