Chinese low cost airlines create alliance

HK Express

China does not feature very often in this blog. Important as it is in the World economy, the size and own dynamics of its own air travel market makes it somehow challenging for outsiders to follow, however, here is an initiative that has caught our eye.

A group of four low cost airlines, led by HK Express, have announced what they claim is the World's first low cost airline alliance, that will be called "the U-Fly Alliance".

it looks like the main focus is in linking their own networks in a comprehensive interline agreement, in order to leverage their own respective regional strengths (the other airlines in the alliance are Lucky Air, based in Kunming, Urumqi Air, based in the city of the same name in Xinjiang and Chongqing’s West Air) and replicate the network size of a large airline.

The partnership also extends to the commercial arena, as it will include also cross-selling tickets in each other's websites.  It is yet unclear whether the U-Fly alliance, that has its own brand, will become progressively more integrated in other aspects of its operations, although, its website explains that, for the time being, each airline will continue to pursue its own marketing and growth strategy.

This move has some interesting derivatives outside China, since it may be echoed in other places, in Europe, for example, Norwegian's CEO Bjorn Kjos, recently voiced his interest in establishing alliances with other European low cost airlines.