The A319 has been an important and successful member of the A320 family, especially in the early 2000s. It's successor, the A319neo, has not fared anywhere near as well with, depending on how you slice it, only 13 deliveries since 2021 and a tiny order backlog. In fact, currently it is only in service with a single airline (and several non-airline customers), although its second airline customer, Tibet Airlines, looks like it'll be receiving its first aircraft soon. What has changed and what's in store for the A319neo?
I am a major fan not only of Chinese airlines but also obscure airlines so an obscure Chinese airline is surely too good to pass up, especially when it has been represented in 400 scale twice by, that other lover of obscure airliners, Aeroclassics. Air Great Wall was one of many small airlines that appeared after the decentralisation of the Chinese air carrier market, but although some smaller carriers would grow into majors many others were swallowed up by the big three.
The Boeing 757 is renowned for having some grunt, which is one of the reasons it has gained a second life on transatlantic duties. It also makes it ideal for operating in hot and high destinations where the thin air makes thrust important. The Western regions of China include the foothills of the Himalayas right up to the Tibetan plateau and the 757 proved its worth in these challenging conditions.
Hainan Airlines had been the first airline in China to operate the next generation series 737-800 and given that they began to colour their older series 300s with special schemes it is no surprise that they also chose the newer 800s to gain some colour.
Hainan Airlines is nowadays a well known and respected airline. Its beginnings were much less grand but by 2000 it had innovated its way to success achieving a number of firsts for Chinese airlines. For Westerners however it was probably the advent of China’s first special schemes that raised its profile the most.
Cathay Pacific Cargo was in a strong position in 2007 and in November placed its largest ever direct order with Boeing. This incuded 7 extra Boeing 777-300ERs but more importantly a commitment to 10 747-8Fs with 14 further purchase rights. At the time CX Cargo still had 6 747-400ERFs and a pair of 747-400BCFs on order. The idea at the time was to use the 747-8Fs for growth and to replace the 747-200Fs but the global financial crisis changed all that and instead the 200s were replaced largely by the 400ERFs.
Although the PLAAF and its China United subsidiary would get the first 4 TU-154s in China the CAAC itself would acquire some of this first batch of TU-154s too. In fact it got the lion's share with thirteen aircraft joining in 1985/86. They didn't remain with the CAAC for very long however due to the changes afoot in the Chinese industry.
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: