The China Southern's first Airbus A319neo was unveiled at the Airbus production base in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is also the Airbus' fourth A319neo.

According to the South China Morning Post, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) ordered nine A321neo and two A319neo last month, which means it took only about a month from order to have the livery done. "China Southern's expansion move could give hope to plane makers which have been hit hard by the slump in global travel," commented SCMP.

"Having more narrow-body aircraft is the future direction as large aircraft are proved not efficient enough," said Toliver Ma, an analyst at Guotai Junan in Hong Kong. "As more newly added routes will be short-distance or regional, airlines need smaller aircraft given the demand for such routes in China still has room to develop."

The A319neo is not as popular as the A320neo in the narrow-body market, with only 84 orders since its launch. However, China Southern Airline's order will be a strong push for A319neo.

The SCMP also reported that Southern Airlines is using a combination of A321neo and A319neo aircraft to fill the gaps in flight arrangements caused by the suspension of 737max. Due to the strong momentum of China's domestic aviation market, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) is looking for more narrow-body aircraft to meet the demand. The 11 new aircraft are expected to generate revenue of up to 287.6 million US dollars (1.9 billion yuan) per year.

COVID-19 hit on China's aviation industry hard in January this year, and the airline industry has been steadily recovering ever since. In September, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) took the lead in restoring profits in the third quarter after domestic demand reached 100%-level before the outbreak. This rapid recovery has made China Southern the world's largest airline, as other large airlines elsewhere of the world had to cut capacity – the capacity of American airlines is down 50%, while only 10% for China Southern Airlines (ZNH).

(Source: SCMP, CARNOC/Star)