China Eastern, Qantas to start Hong Kong budget short-haul airline

2012 03 27

QANTAS and China Eastern Airlines have announced plans to launch a Hong Kong-based budget carrier to tap into Asia's booming budget-airline market, Reuters reported.

China Eastern Airlines and Qantas' low-cost unit, Jetstar, will form a 50:50 joint venture and invest US$198 million over three years from mid-2013. The initial fleet of three Airbus 320s is set to expand to 18 A320s by 2015.

The new carrier will fly between China, Japan, South Korea and southeast Asia and other destinations. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said Jetstar Hong Kong is an "historic opportunity to continue the successful expansion of the Jetstar brand in this region."

Nomura airlines analyst David Fraser said the alliance would help Qantas gain a foothold in a market where only about five-10 per cent of capacity was served by budget carriers, compared with half in Australia.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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