Xiamen Airlines (China) took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (serial 42956) on May 22, 2018, in Seattle, Washington (U.S.), expanding its fleet to 200 aircraft, the carrier stated, attributing the expansion to the massive growth in the demand for air travel in China.

The airline, based in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian, Southeast China, hailed the addition of the new aircraft “a key milestone” for the company, with the size of its fleet now at 200 planes. Xiamen says it passed the first milestone of 100 planes in 2013, and continued adding roughly 20 aircraft per year, thus doubling the size of its fleet within five years.

According to the carrier, during that period, its operating profits also increased year by year, booking gross profits exceeding $1.5 billion (CNY10 billion). Overall, the Chinese carrier has been profitable for 31 consecutive years, reflecting the rapid growth of the country's civil aviation industry.

The chairman of Xiamen, Che Shanglun, commented that the airline's growth was “mainly attributable to the economic stimulus that resulted from China's reform and opening up, and the constant improvement in the living standard across China, which, in turn, led to the massive boost in the demand for air travel”.

For instance, over the past five years, China recorded an average annual growth rate of roughly 10% in civil aviation passenger volume, while the U.S. and Europe reported 4% and 6% respectively, according to Xiamen. The airline says it experienced an average growth rate of 15% over the same period.

Meanwhile, Boeing predicts that over the next two decades, fast growth in China’s domestic market will make it the largest in the world, with traffic within Asia becoming the largest travel market. The company estimates that by 2036, around 40% of all new airplanes will be delivered to airlines based in the Asian region.

Announcing the new addition to its fleet, Xiamen highlighted that the 737 MAX is the best-selling civil aircraft in the history of the company. According to Boeing, in 2017, the U.S. plane maker reached a new high on the 737 program, as it raised production to 47 jets per month and began delivering the new 737 MAX, contributing to a record 529 deliveries, including 74 of the MAX variety. The company‘s order book indicates over 4,400 orders were placed for the 737 MAX since launch.

Xiamen states on its official website that it operates a fleet of 163 aircraft as of early 2018, one the youngest in the world. According to Planespotters airline fleet data, as of May 19, 2018, the airline operated an all-Boeing fleet of 162 aircraft, with the average fleet age of 5.3 years. The new 737 MAX is likely to be a MAX 8, although the airline itself did not specify the aircraft variant in its announcement.

And in case you did not know, Xiamen Airlines (XiamenAir) is the first regional airline of the People's Republic of China, founded in 1984. The airline launched its first intercontinental flight, between Xiamen and Amsterdam (The Netherlands), in July 2015, and now operates both domestic and international flights. Since the carrier bought its first 787 Dreamliner back in August 2014, all of its intercontinental flights are serviced by 787s.