Guangzhou - China Southern Airlines, the largest airline operator in China with 800 aircraft in service, has ambitious growth plans. The airline aims to have a fleet of 2000 aircraft by 2035.

In the short term, China Southern wants to expand its network to South America and add more African routes. The company also desires to increase the flight frequencies to existing international destinations from home base Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

The fleet of China Southern is expected to grow to 1000 planes by 2020. This number will double over the following fifteen years, the company predicts.

The strong growth experienced by China Southern and other Chinese airlines is mainly due to the outbound tourism. In 2020, the number of outbound tourists from China will grow to two hundred million.

According to IATA's projection, China will become the world's largest aviation market in 2022. In 2036, the number of air travelers in China will grow to 1.5 billion.

China Southern has currently 800 (mainly single-aisle) aircraft in its fleet, serving regional and national markets. The carrier plans to have a fleet of 150 widebody aircraft by 2020 as the Guangzhou-based operator looks for expansion opportunities to more long-haul destinations.

The expansion of our fleet is in the company's overall strategy of focusing on the long-haul markets,
said Tan Wan Geng, the Vice Chairman and the President of China Southern, at the World Routes 2018 conference.

Currently, only 12% of the fleet are wide-bodies. Once we start our hub at Beijing Daxing Airport, this proportion will increase to 15% as we expand to 1,000 aircraft and establish new long-haul routes,
Mr. Wan Geng added.

China Southern holds a 40% stake in the new Beijing Daxing International Airport and will establish a new hub there from 2019. Tan Wan Geng said that China Southern would not only be able to serve all of China but will also develop new long-haul markets from its new hub.

We will decide on the new South American destinations within three years,
said Tan, adding that the new long-haul development strategy of the company would also allow the airline to turn to Oceania and other cities in Africa.

China Southern currently operates a fleet of 80 long-haul aircraft - 48 Airbus A330, 5 Airbus A380, 10 Boeing 777-300ER (8 on order) 10 787-8, and six 787-9 (14 on order).