This airline was announced in August 2014 as Jiangxi Airlines (subsequently shortened to Jiangxi Air) and early on it was leaked that it was likely to be a budget airline.
As is standard within China the airline is actually a joint venture between Xiamen Airlines (60%) and local government, in the form of the Jiangxi Airlines Investment Co (40%). The latter is itself a joint venture including a variety of organisations such as Jiangxi Airport group. Xiamen Airlines is widely recognised as one of, if not the, best run airlines in China and so given many of the issues other startups have faced it is not surprising that initially at least Jiangxi Air would take advantage of the benefits of its relationship with the parent. This includes using Xiamen Airlines staff for pilots, cabin attendants and maintenance. Xiamen also provided the startup equipment in the form of winglet equipped 737-800s. The initial startup investment was CNT2.0 billion (USD$312.5 million).
China Southern has been relatively late to the LCC party with Spring Airlines the runway LCC leader and China Eastern having converted China United to an LCC several years ago. Hainan Airlines itself has Lucky Air and West Air. China Southern has only begun transitioning Chongqing Airlines to the LCC model and now has Jiangxi Air too. You can't help feel that they don't really get the whole LCC idea. Regionally named and owned airlines may fit the Chinese model but hardly talk to an expansive pan-nation LCC in the way Spring or Juneyao's 9Air do. Plus from the outside the aircraft look like standard airlines, with nothing to suggest their LCC status. Jiangxi's livery though very nice hardly compares with Easyjet, Wizz Air or Spirit does it?
Jiangxi's first aircraft, B-5511, arrived from Xiamen on December 14 and allowed the new airline to unveil its corporate identity. The new livery combines 4 main elements representative of the Jiangxi region. These are:
Apparently integrating these elements 'signifies Jiangxi's people's wonderful desire of soaring development' or some such marketing guff.
Regardless Jiangxi Air represents the first local carrier at Nanchang Airport, which handled nearly 7.5 million passengers during 2015 (making it the 31st busiest in China) and has significant operations from China Eastern, China Southern, Shenzhen Airlines and Tianjin Airlines. Interestingly Jiangxi Air plans to operate from Nanchang to top tier Chinese airports competing against the incumbents. Initial routes suggested included Nanchang to Xi'an, Urumqi, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.. Even before operations had begun there were already plans for services to international destinations like Singapore, Suvarnabhumi, Kuala Lumpur, Incheon and Tokyo within 5 years.
The airline's first 737 undertook its first test flight on December 30, 2015 and received its AOC on January 8, 2016 enabling it to start services on January 29th. It has been assigned the ICAO code CJX and the callsign 'Air Crane'. Subsequently the fleet has grown to 4 737-800s with 3 coming from the fleet of Xiamen Airlines and the 4th being the first delivered direct from Boeing. The aircraft are fitted out in a 184 seat config with the Boeing Sky interior. A 5th 737 is scheduled for delivery in December 2016 and the fleet is planned to grow to 30 aircraft by 2020. Aside from operating in an all economy layout it remains to be seen whether Jiangxi is really a budget airline and just how big it can grow. Surely at some point there will be consolidation of these local style airlines into larger units but for now Nanchang has its own airline and the Crane is flying high.
Jiangxi Air. CAPA
Jiangxi Air Fleet. Airfleets
2015, July. China's New Budget Carrier Jiangxi Airlines ready for take-off. South China Morning Post
2015. Dec. Jiangxi Air Unveils Its Logo and Livery, Introduces First B738. China Aviation Daily
2015, Dec. New Airline Takes to the Skies in Southeast China's Jiangxi Province. China Aviation Daily
2016, Jan. Jiangxi Air to launch inaugural scheduled flight from Nanchang on 18 January 2016. Sayacinta - Airpost
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: