Airlines in China

By the end of 2017, there were 365 general airlines in China with general aviation operating licenses. At present, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines are the “Big Four” airlines in China. Hainan Airlines(HU), the fourth largest airlines in China measured in terms of fleet size, is the second airline in China to be ranked as one of the seven 5-star airlines in the world by Skytrax, after Cathay Pacific Airways. There are also some civilian-run airways, such as Shenzhen Airlines, Spring Airlines, Okay Airways, etc. Shenzhen Airlines is the fifth largest airlines in China in terms of passengers carried. These offer quality service in advanced, world-class aircrafts. Check the information below to know more about the major  airlines in China.

Air China

  • Chinese Name: 中国国际航空公司
  • Callsign: AIR CHINA
  • IATA: CA
  • Alliance Member: Star Alliance
  • Symbol: A Stylized Red Phoenix

Being the flag carrier and one of the major airlines of China, Air China’s flight operations are based at Beijing Capital International Airport. whose headquarters is in Shunyi DistrictBeijing. It was established and commenced operations on 1 July 1988.  In 2006, Air China signed an agreement to join the Star Alliance. It became a member of the alliance on 12 December 2007. Air China also operates a second hub in Chengdu International Airport, where it primarily flies domestic routes.

Air China’s route network extends throughout Asia to the Middle East, Western Europe, North America, Australian and European. Some international routes operate from Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Hangzhou, Kunming and Xiamen. It has 298 routes, including 71 international routes, 15 regional routes and 212 domestic routes. Read more about Air China.

China Eastern Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 中国东方航空公司
  • Callsign: CHINA EASTERN
  • IATA: MU
  • Alliance Member: SkyTeam
  • Symbol: A White Bird on a Blue and Red Background

China Eastern Airlines is China’s second-largest carrier by passenger numbers. It is a major Chinese airline operating international, domestic and regional routes. It is headquartered in the China Eastern Airlines Building, on the grounds of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in Changning DistrictShanghai. Its main hubs are at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, with secondary hubs at Beijing Capital International AirportKunming Changshui International Airport and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport.

China Eastern Airlines has a strong presence on routes in Asia, North America and Australia. At present, China Eastern Airlines has been serving 177 countries and regions, 1052 destinations. Read more about China Eastern Airlines.

China Southern Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 中国南方航空公司
  • Callsign: CHINA SOUTHERN
  • IATA: CZ
  • Symbol: Stylized Red Kapok Flower on a Blue Background

China Southern Airlines is an airline headquartered in Baiyun DistrictGuangzhouGuangdong Province, China. Established on 1 July 1988, the airline became one of China’s “Big Three” airlines (alongside Air China and China Eastern Airlines), the world’s sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried and Asia’s largest airline in fleet size. With its main hubs at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, it was once a member of SkyTeam until January 1 2019. 

China Southern Airlines serves 193 destinations in 35 different countries worldwide. The airline operates more than 2,000 flights to more than 200 destinations daily. Read more about China Southern Airlines

Hainan Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 海南航空公司
  • Callsign: HAINAN
  • IATA: HU
  • Alliance Member: Fortune Wings Club
  • Symbol: golden wings of the golden Garuda, with its golden horn and auspicious clouds

Hainan Airlines is an airline headquartered in HaikouHainan, China. It is the largest civilian-run air transport company, the fourth-largest airline in terms of fleet size in China, and tenth-largest airline in Asia in terms of passengers carried. Its main base is Haikou Meilan International Airport, with hubs at Beijing Capital International Airport and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport and several focus cities. Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax 5-star airlines.

It operates scheduled domestic and international services on 500 domestic and international routes from Hainan and nine locations on the mainland to more than 90 cities connecting Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, as well as charter services. Read more about Hainan Airlines.

Shenzhen Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 深圳航空
  • Callsign: SHENZHEN AIR
  • IATA: ZH
  • Alliance Member: Star Alliance
  • Symbol: a stylized bird “peng”

Built in 1992, Shenzhen Airlines is an airline headquartered in Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in Bao’an DistrictShenzhenGuangdong. It has been a member of Star Alliance since 2012, and is currently one of two Chinese airlines that is part of the global airline network along with Air China. Except for Shenzhen Airport, its operating bases include Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, Nanning Wuxu International Airport, Shenyang Taoxian International Airport and Xian Xianyang International Airport.

Shenzhen airlines has opened more than 130 domestic and international routes, a total of 58 Chinese airports involved. Read more about Shenzhen Airlines.

Shandong Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 山东航空
  • Callsign: SHANDONG
  • IATA: SC
  • Alliance Member: Xinxing Aviation Alliance
  • Symbol: 3 “S” symbolizing Shandong province, safety and success

Shandong Airlines was established on 12 March 1994 and started operations in September of the same year. It is an airline based in the Shandong Airlines Center (山东航空大厦) in JinanShandong, operating a sizable domestic network from JinanQingdao and Yantai to major cities across China, together with an international network to regional Asian destinations. It serves flights to more than 60 domestic and international destinations including Cambodia, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Read more about Shandong Airlines.

Xiamen Air

  • Chinese Name: 厦门航空
  • Callsign: XIAMEN AIR
  • IATA: MF
  • Alliance Member: Sky Team
  • Symbol: A White Egret Flying on a Blue Background

The airline was established as a domestic carrier on July 25, 1984 primarily to connect the province of Fujian to the rest of China. It is a Chinese passenger airline based in XiamenFujian Province. The airline operates scheduled passenger flights out of Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Fuzhou Changle International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Nanchang Changbei International Airport, Tianjin Binhai International AirportChangsha Huanghua International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport.

It operates about 220 domestic routes and 30 international routes (including routes to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).

Spring Airlines

  • Chinese Name: 春秋航空
  • Callsign: AIR SPRING
  • IATA: 9C
  • Symbol:  3S symbolizing Safety, Sincerity and Smile

Spring Airlines is a low-cost carrier with its headquarters in the Homeyo Hotel (航友宾馆) in Changning DistrictShanghai, China. It is the aviation subsidiary of Shanghai Spring International Travel Service, which is one of the first private airlines in China and the first established by travel agency. The airline has domestic bases at both of the city’s airports – Hongqiao and Pudong, as well as Shenyang, Shijiazhuang, Shenzhen, Yangzhou, Ningbo and Jieyang. In October 2018, Spring Airlines officially established Hebei branch, which is the first branch company of Spring Airlines.

After its inaugural flight on 18 July 2005, Spring now owns a fleet of 81 aircraft flying over 130 domestic routes. Nowadays Spring operates more than 80 international and regional routes in Asia including Japan and South Korea, as well as Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia. etc. Read more about Spring Airlines.

Okay Airways

  • Chinese Name: 奥凯航空
  • Callsign: OKAYJET
  • IATA: BK
  • Symbol: An abstract pattern of auspicious clouds

Okay Airways is an airline headquartered in Shunyi DistrictBeijing, China. It operates passenger flight services and dedicated cargo services. Its main hubs are Tianjin Binhai International Airport and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, with a secondary hub is Changsha Huanghua International Airport. Established in June 2004, it is China’s first private sector airline. Okay Airways is the first one introducing batches of domestic aircraft and putting into commercial operation.

It operates flights to 57 cities, among which 43 are domestic cities and 14 are Asian counties including Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Tailand, Vietnam, Indonesia. Read more about Okay Airways.

Other Airlines in China

For more airlines, please check the list below.

Keep Reading

Read more about Transportation in China.