Chinese LCC Spring Airlines intends to lift its fleet total close to 100 this year with additional Airbus A320neo deliveries, and the carrier is also scheduled to begin taking A321neos in 2020.

The Shanghai-based airline has so far received six A320neos and is scheduled to operate 14 neos by year-end, although Airbus delivery delays may affect Spring orders, Spring president Stephen Wang told ATW on the sidelines of a CAPA-Center for Aviation conference. Spring ordered 45 of the type in 2015 and is also taking leased aircraft.

All the neos due this year will be for fleet growth rather than replacement, Wang said. The carrier currently operates 81 A320ceos in addition to the six A320neos. If deliveries are on track, it will have a fleet total of 95 by year-end, Wang said.

Spring also has 15 A321neos on order, which are scheduled to start arriving from next year. However, Wang noted the arrival date is uncertain because of production delays.

In the long term, Wang said the carrier may look at the longer-range A321LR or XLR versions. However, Spring would want to gain experience with the A321neo base model before it considers the other versions. “We will see how [the A321neo] operates, then see about the LR or XLR,” he said.

There could also be growth on the horizon for Spring’s Japanese franchise. Until recently, Spring Airlines Japan was not successful enough to justify substantial fleet expansion, Wang said. It has six Boeing 737s. Wang noted that Spring’s performance has improved, and next year may consider more aircraft or routes.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com