Airline Insight: West Air

7 January, 2018

Each day this year, The Blue Swan Daily uses the extensive insights available to CAPA - Centre for Aviation members to deliver a data snapshot on the world's largest airlines and airports. Today, we feature Chinese carrier West Air (IATA:PN; ICAO:CHB).

Formed in 2007 by Hainan Airlines, the airline operates mainly domestic scheduled services from a main base at Chongqing's Jiangbei International Airport. It ended last year with a fleet of 30 Airbus A320s, including a first A320neo which was delivered on 21-Dec-2017.

NETWORK: According to flight schedules from OAG for the week commencing 01-Jan-2018, West Air serves 40 destinations, with Singapore the only market outside of China. Its main base at Chongqing's Jiangbei International Airport accounts for 25.9% of its scheduled departures and 25.7% of its system capacity, with Xinzheng International Airport in Zhengzhou its second largest point with a 11.9% share of departures. It currently link's Chongqing to 29 other destinations. West Air's busiest routes during the analysis week link its main base in Chongqing to Phoenix International Airport in Sanya, Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou and Xinqiao International Airport in Hefei.

FLEET: West Air operates an exclusive fleet of Airbus A320 Family aircraft, which now numbers 30 aircraft. This includes its first A320neo, B-8867 (msn 7795) which was handed over on 21-Dec-2017, one of three aircraft that joined its fleet in the 2017 calendar year. According to the CAPA Fleet Database its fleet includes a mix of CFM International CFM56 and International Aero Engines V2500 powered examples with its neo powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine. The fleet has an average age is 4.1 years and the majority of the fleet (86.7%) is leased.

CAPACITY: West Air boosted its system capacity to 9.6 million annual seats in 2017 following a year over year rise of +32.4% versus 2016. It has almost trebled (+188.4%) its inventory since 2012 and reported annual gains throughout this period. Its rate of growth in 2017 far outpaced its performance in previous year when healthy annual growth of +23.3% (2014), +27.8% (2015) and +21.6% (2016) were recorded.

TRAFFIC: From carrying 1.6 million passengers at the start of the decade, West Air was predicted to pass the 8.5 million figure for 2017, based on a +22.9% growth in traffic levels for the first five months of the year. This rate is down slightly on the +25.4% recorded for 2016, but still highlights the growth of the carrier in the growing China market.

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