Dis­count car­ri­ers take low-cost road to suc­cess

Sec­ond-largest avi­a­tion mar­ket draw­ing at­ten­tion of new budget air­line com­pa­nies across Asia Pa­cific

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business - By QIUQUANLIN

Low-cost air­lines from around the re­gion are tak­ing to the skies in the main­land mar­ket, where they aim to meet huge de­mand from do­mes­tic trav­el­ers for new des­ti­na­tions around Asia.

HK Ex­press, the only low­cost car­rier in Hong Kong, will soon open ser­vice on its sec­ond route to the main­land — Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

“The move rep­re­sents our com­mit­ment to carv­ing a foothold in the Chi­nese main­land,” said Andrew Cowen, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of HK Ex­press.

The com­pany, which cur­rently flies to 13 pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions through­out Asia, launched daily flights to Kun­ming, Yun­nan prov­ince, last Oc­to­ber.

Start­ing Aug 1, the air­line will op­er­ate five flights a week be­tween Hong Kong and Ningbo.

Along with open­ing new routes on the main­land, the com­pany will also open more in­ter­na­tional flights to neigh­bor­ing des­ti­na­tions to cater to the “overwhelming de­mand” from main­land trav­el­ers, ac­cord­ing to Cowen.

“We are of­fer­ing low-cost, ef­fi­cient ... air ser­vices for trav­el­ers in Asia, es­pe­cially those in the Pearl River Delta, which neigh­bors Hong Kong, as a grow­ing num­ber of people have de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in trav­el­ing through­out south­east­ern and north­east­ern Asia,” Cowen told China Daily.

The low-cost flight provider will ex­pand its des­ti­na­tions to 20 by the end of 2014, of which most will be pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tions in Asia.

It also plans to re­cruit 300 new cabin crew mem­bers by the end of 2015, sources with the com­pany said.

“We be­lieve that the com­pany will be­come a mar­ket leader in low-cost flights, as Hong Kong pro­vides an ideal ge­o­graphic ad­van­tage in at­tract­ing trav­el­ers from the Chi­nese main­land,” Cowen said.

Sources with Malaysia’s AirAsia, which has dom­i­nated budget air travel in Asia with ex­plo­sive growth over the past decade, said it plans to con­tinue its growth in the Chi­nese mar­ket, doubling its pas­sen­ger vol­ume by the end of 2015.

AirAsia has launched flights to 10 des­ti­na­tions in China, mostly sec­ond- and third-tier cities. in China are served by more than 10 for­eign low-cost car­ri­ers are ex­pected to be added to hk ex­press’ cabin crew ranks by the end of 2015 said com­pany sources

As the world’s sec­ond­largest avi­a­tion mar­ket, China is now served by more than 10 for­eign low-cost car­ri­ers, which pro­vide flights to more than 20 cities, ac­cord­ing to the CAAC News, a news­pa­per run by the Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China.

A num­ber of do­mes­tic air­lines, in­clud­ing big play­ers such as China East­ern Air­lines Corp Ltd, also plan to of­fer low-cost ser­vices to meet the grow­ing mar­ket de­mand.

Sources with the CAAC News said that China’s low­cost flight mar­ket is ex­pected to ac­count for 20 to 30 per­cent of the to­tal mar­ket by 2030.

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