Hainan Airlines based in China's southernmost island province has ordered three Boeing 737-800 jets with a 1.1 billion yuan (132.5 million US dollars) loan granted by a domestic bank, company sources have confirmed.
The airline company signed a pact with the Shanxi branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Monday in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, said Chen Feng, president of Hainan Airlines Group, China's fourth-largest carrier.
The three jets will be delivered in July, August and September, 2005, to their end user Shanxi Airlines, one of the four members the Hainan Airlines Group, said Chen.
Shanxi Airlines has presently two Boeing 737-400s and three 737-700s in its fleet.
The new Boeing 737-800 is equipped with a state-of-the-art engine that is more powerful yet less noisy compared with earlier generation products. It has also larger vertical and horizontal empennages that enhance safety, and a larger passenger cabin and luggage compartment.
Chen said the purchase of the new aircraft would be an essential step to help Shanxi Airlines play a larger role in the regional air passenger transport market in north China.
Hainan Airlines Group, which consists of Hainan Airlines, China Xinhua Airlines, Shanxi Airlines and Chang'an Airlines, is China's fourth largest carrier, following the "big three" flag carriers of Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. It has a fleet of more than 80 airplanes and operates 484 domestic and international routes.