China’s Spring Airlines plans to introduce much longer routes when it begins receiving Airbus A320neo family aircraft in the second half of this year.

Nonstop flights as far as Australia are planned, the Shanghai-based LCC said. India and the Russian Far East will also be connected to Shanghai nonstop, Spring said.

The airline has 45 A320neos and 15 A321neos on order, according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network data. These aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving in the second half of the year, opening up the possibilities of longer routes, Spring said. The A320neo family aircraft will be powered by CFM Leap-1A engines.

Airbus cites a range of 6,500 km (4,000 mi.), with a typical load of 165 passengers, for the A320neo. Spring is likely to configure the aircraft with more seats than that, however, its current A320s—equipped with CFM56-5B engines—have as many as 186 seats.

The nearest Australian city to Shanghai is Darwin, a seasonal holiday destination 4,900 km (3,044 mi.) away. Cairns, also popular with tourists, is 5,900 km from Shanghai—perhaps too far after allowing for wind and Spring’s dense cabins. Donghai Airlines has begun flying Boeing 737-800s to Darwin from its base at Shenzhen, far south of Shanghai and 4,300 km from the Australian city.

Spring’s longest sector is currently the 3,800-km route between Shanghai and Singapore.

All of Spring’s current fleet of 77 aircraft are A320ceos powered by CFM56-5Bs.

Bradley Perrett, perrett@aviationweek.com

Research by Ryan Wang