China Eastern Airlines plans to boost its capacity to North America by 50 per cent in 2016 to tap the rapidly growing travel market between China and the US in the China-US tourism year, chief executive Ma Xulun said in an interview with the South China Morning Post on Friday.
“Air travel between the two countries is expected to rise to more than 5 million [passengers] this year, with about 3 million being US-bound from China. We have great confidence in the market and hope to capture as much of this opportunity as possible,” Ma said.
He added that the airline is also looking to capture more than half of the 3 to 4 million additional air travellers expected after Disneyland Shanghai opens in June.
China Eastern last year introduced Delta Airlines as a 3.5 per cent strategic shareholder in a landmark deal worth US$450 million.
China Eastern transported 1.12 million passengers on China-US routes last year according to Dong Bo, chief marketing officer and general manager of its marketing and sales committee. “Our capacity increase in 2016 will be about 50 per cent,” Dong said.
Read more: China Eastern Airlines eyes 5 million China-US tourists as it boosts North America capacity | South China Morning Post