March 19, 2014 / 5:45 AM / 4 years ago

China's Hainan Air to add 27 jets, expand in abroad in 2014

BEIJING, March 19 (Reuters) - Hainan Airlines Co Ltd will take delivery of 27 aircraft this year that will help increase the number of routes it flies to the United States and Europe, a company executive said on Wednesday.

The deliveries will include four Boeing B787s and three Airbus A330s longhaul jets and will boost the airline’s total fleet to 158 aircraft by the end of the year.

Hainan Airlines, which already flies to Chicago and Seattle, wants to further expand into North America and this year will start flying to Boston. The airline will also launch routes to Brussels, Berlin, and Moscow, the executive said by telephone from Hainan island.

Hainan Airlines will also open a service to Paris via a code-share agreement with is sister company Blue Eagle Airlines, he added, declining to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Like larger rivals Air China Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd and China Southern Airlines , Hainan Airlines is ramping up its international expansion to capitalise on an increase in outbound travellers from China.

The airlines’ overseas push should also help offset declining revenue from business class travel which has been hit by the government’s austerity program, industry observers say.

Hainan Airlines’ net income for 2013 rose 9.2 percent year-on-year to 2.11 billion yuan ($340.76 million), according to a stock exchange filing released late on Tuesday. ($1 = 6.1920 Chinese Yuan) (Reporting by Fang Yan and Matthew Miller in BEIJING; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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