Hebei Airlines is now the fourth carrier in China to operate Embraer E-Jets. It took delivery of two E190s at a ceremony at EMbraer’s factory in São José dos Campos on December 20. The aircraft are the first of an order of ten E-Jets that will be used to build a network of scheduled flights from Hebei’s hub at Shijiazhuang Zhengding Airport. The E190s are configured with six premium cabin seats and 92 main cabin seats.
The economy of Hebei province is the sixth fastest growing in China. In the two years since 2008, passenger enplanements doubled to more than 2.7 million yet nearly two thirds of all flight departures carried an average of fewer than 100 passengers in 2009. It is for this reason that the airline focused on acquiring aircraft that would avoid over capacity, maximize profitability and allow for the controlled addition of seats with incremental flights.
Hebei Airlines is new to the domestic aviation landscape having started in June 2010. The carrier is developing a network of destinations within the province and also to the provincial capitals of Gansu and Ningxia. Most cities in the Hebei Airlines system are within two hours flying time from Shijiazhuang.
Although there are currently only three airports in Hebei province, the local government has embarked on an ambitious growth plan that will see the construction of four new airports by 2020. Hebei Airlines is an integral part of the development of the region and will use its fleet of E-Jets to facilitate the transport of people, cargo and mail. By 2015, the airline expects to have a fleet of 30 Embraer and Airbus jets and to carry three million passengers per year.