China Southern Airlines has reached a big milestone in its history: it has received its 700th aircraft.
The Guangzhou-based carrier has taken delivery of its 700th aircraft on September 2 at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The aircraft is an Airbus A321, registered B-8640.
This makes China Southern the biggest airline in Asia and the fourth in the world, following American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines.
The airline says it aims to have a fleet of 1,000 planes and handle 160 million passengers in 2020.
China Southern was established in 1992 and started independent operations in 1993, with a fleet of 79 aircraft and handling 9.9 million passengers.
The airline’s fleet reached 100 in 1998, transporting 15 million passengers. Later on, China Southern continued to expand its fleet, reaching 200 aircraft in 2007, 400 in 2010, 500 in 2013 and 600 in 2014.
Also in 2014, the airline became the sixth airline group in the world and the first outside Europe and the US to move 100 million passengers in a year.
China Southern transported 109 million passengers in 2015, ranking the carrier first in Asia and the 4th in the world, topping all Chinese airlines for 37 years.
By June 30, 2016, China Southern has kept a safe record of 16.19 million flight hours and carried close to 900 million passengers without incident. The airline’s safety commitment is – and continues to be – unwavering both throughout China and globally.
At present, China Southern operates more than 958 cargo and passenger routes to 220 destinations. Through the extensive shared network of its SkyTeam member airlines, China Southern’s network spans 1,062 destinations in 177 countries and regions.