China Eastern Airlines has become the first of the country’s big three carriers to launch a budget airline, in a move that may accelerate the sector’s development in northeast Asia.
Shanghai-based China Eastern announced yesterday that it had decided to relaunch a subsidiary, China United Airlines, as a budget carrier.
Beijing-based China United, which plans to base itself in an airport under construction south of the capital, will more than triple its existing fleet to 80 aircraft by 2019.
China Eastern’s two biggest rivals, Air China and China Southern, have yet to launch budget carriers despite steps by China’s aviation administration to encourage their growth.
China United operates a fleet of 26 Boeing 737s, which it plans to increase to 31 by the end of the year. But some analysts cautioned that it would take years for China’s budget airline industry to develop.
China’s budget carriers include small players such as Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines.
China Eastern has been trying to establish a joint venture budget carrier in Hong Kong with Jetstar, the budget offshoot of Australia’s Qantas Airways, and Shun Tak Holdings, a conglomerate controlled by Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho.
But the plans have been delayed by objections from Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific. China Eastern said that It remained confident that Jetstar Hong Kong would win approval.
Additional reporting by Wan Li
中国东航(China Eastern Airlines)在中国三大航空公司中率先成立了一家廉价航空公司。此举或许会加速东北亚廉价航空业的发展。
总部位于上海的中国东航昨日宣布，决定将子公司中联航(China United Airlines)转型为廉价航空公司。
尽管中国民航局出台了鼓励廉价航空公司发展的政策，但中国东航的两大竞争对手——中国国航(Air China)和中国南航(China Southern)迄今仍未成立廉价航空公司。
中国的廉价航空公司包括青岛航空(Qingdao Airlines)和浙江长龙航空(Zhejiang Loong Airlines)等规模较小的航空公司。
中国东航试图与澳洲航空(Qantas Airways)旗下的廉价航空公司捷星(Jetstar)，以及澳门赌王何鸿燊(Stanley Ho)控股的信德集团有限公司(Shun Tak Holdings)合资，在香港成立一家廉价航空公司。
但上述计划因遭到香港载旗航空公司国泰航空(Cathay Pacific)的反对而延迟。中国东航表示，仍对捷星香港(Jetstar Hong Kong)获准经营有信心。