China's largest regional airline by fleet size and the number of routes, Grand China Express, was set up in the northern port city of Tianjin on Friday.
The new carrier, owned by Hainan Airlines Group and its subsidiary Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd., operates a 29-strong fleet of 32-seat Dornier 328-300 jets on 78 routes linking 54 cities, said Chen Feng, board chairman of the Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd., at an inauguration ceremony.
The company, with a registered capital of 100 million yuan (12.5 million U.S. dollars), will buy 100 regional jets from Embraer in Brazil from now on till 2012, including 50 ERJ145s and 50 EMB190s, Chen said.
By then, the airline will operate on more than 450 routes, linking at least 90 cities, taking more than 90 percent of the domestic regional aviation market, he said.
Regional aviation, also known as feeder-line services, operates between small cities, with routes typically from 500 to 1,000 km. The services usually use aircraft which seat less than 100 passengers.