Hainan Airlines plans to open six international routes soon as the Haikou-based carrier continues its expansion to meet the increasing demand of Chinese outbound travelers.

The new routes comprise Shanghai-Tel Aviv, Beijing-Prague-Belgrade, Shenzhen-Brisbane, Chongqing-New York JFK, Chengdu-New York JFK and Shanghai-Brussels.

In the 2017 first half, Hainan opened 15 international routes, including Chengdu-Los Angeles, California, and Chongqing-Los Angeles in March.

To date, Hainan operates 12 Sino-US routes using mostly Boeing 787s. The carrier operates the biggest 787 fleet in China, with 22 aircraft.

Hainan Airlines—which does not have a major hub compared to China’s big three (China Eastern, China Southern and Air China)—operates from China’s secondary cities to primary foreign cities and vice versa.

However, because China’s secondary cities traditionally have low load factors, it is challenging for these international routes to be profitable, especially in business class.

The UK’s British Airways dropped its Chengdu-London route in January and the US Chicago-based United Airlines is expected to drop its Hangzhou-San Francisco route in October.

Industry analysts have said domestic carriers mainly rely on local government subsidies to operate these intercontinental routes from China’s secondary cities. Chinese carriers attach more importance to these secondary cities’ long-term market potential rather than on short-term business interests.