China Has Largest and Youngest Boeing 737-800 Fleet in World


China has the world’s largest fleet of Boeing Co. 737-800s, the aircraft involved in Monday’s crash in the hills of Guangxi province, meaning that any further groundings of the jet could have a significant impact on domestic travel, according to aviation consultancy IBA Group Ltd. 

China’s fleet of nearly 1,200 of the narrowbodies is also the world’s youngest, with an average age of about eight years, five below the global average, IBA said. The China Eastern Airlines Corp. jet that crashed was delivered to the carrier in June 2015. 

China Eastern has grounded its entire 737-800 fleet, the country’s sixth-largest. It has 89 of the aircraft. China Southern Airlines Co., another of the so-called Big Three state-backed carriers, has the most with 163, followed by Hainan Airlines Holding Co. with 136, IBA data show. Air China Ltd. has 97. 

Airline Number of 737-800s
China Southern            163
Hainan Airlines            136
Xiamen Airlines            132
Shandong Airlines            120
Air China             97
China Eastern              89
Shenzhen Airlines             74
Shanghai Airlines             73
China United Airlines             48
Donghai Airlines             23
Source: IBA  


The busiest route flown by 737-800 operators this year is Chongqing-Shenzhen, with 1,734 flights since the start of 2022. Beijing-Guangzhou is next with 1,426, followed by Guangzhou-Haikou, the capital of the island province Hainan, with 1,399. Monday’s flight was headed from Kunming to Guangzhou.

Nationwide, nearly 70% of 11,800 flights scheduled Tuesday have been canceled, according to a Twitter post by state-run Global Times.