Operations began on May 18 2014 using the two ex-Air Berlin 737s. B-5811 was delivered to Air Berlin on December 21, 2010 as D-ABLE. Ruili received its first new build aircraft on November 22, 2014. At the present time the fleet consists of four 737-700s and a single 737-800 however the airline has plans for 24 737s by 2020. Operationally the airline has taken the safe route of becoming a full service carrier (albeit light on frills), which is the standard model in China. Chinese consumers have as yet proven uncertain of the low cost model however the future potential in this area is huge.
Kunming is a city with a quickly growing aviation market. In June 2012 the previous Wuijaba International Airport was replaced by Changshui International which with two runways is expected to handle up to 38 million passengers by 2020. The airport is already a hub for China Eastern Yunnan Airlines, Kunming Airlines (owned by Air China) and one of Hainan Airlines affiliates (Lucky Air) so Ruili is facing a lot of competition. As of March 2015 China Eastern Yunnan has a 42% market-share at the airport with Lucky Air on 12% and China Southern on 10.5%. Air China and Shenzhen have a 7% share and Kunming another 5%. Ruili is not presently in the top 10 airlines at the city. With Lucky Air beginning to transition to a low-cost model it appears Ruili may also be forced down this path to stay viable and differentiate itself from other airlines. At present it operates from Kunming to cities like Wuhan, Jinan, Mangshi, Nanning, Wenzhou, Nanchang, Beihai and Xian.
2014 November. CAPA. China's 19 new passenger airlines will be mostly full service and along the east coast
2015 March. CAPA. China's Lucky Air hopes for greater fortune with LCC model. 70 aircraft and widebodies by 2020
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: