- Passenger numbers: 2.8 million, +3.9%;
- Cargo volume: 83,200 tonnes, +5.1%;
- Aircraft movements: 22,500, +5.9%;
- Passenger numbers: 8.7million, +11.4%;
- Cargo volume: 213,600, +5.0%;
- Aircraft movements: 67,300, +9.2%.
Shenzhen Airport pax up 4%, cargo up 5% in Mar-2014; 8.7m pax in 1Q2014
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China Eastern's LCC China United is expected to start international flying, challenging Air China
China Eastern Airlines is taking the lead amongst the country's state-owned carriers in developing an LCC presence. This follows Beijing's embrace and active promotion of LCCs, which it sees as spearheading new growth and being in line with the country's increasing austerity and efficiency targets. China Eastern has converted its subsidiary China United Airlines, based at the smaller Beijing airport of Nanyuan.
China United only flies domestically, and mostly to secondary cities, but in Jan-2015 applied to regulator CAAC to expand its business licence to international services. China United is expected to be given the right to fly internationally from its Beijing home but also Shenzhen.
Shenzhen's international development has been stunted – possibly due to lobbying from Air China partner Cathay Pacific, which feeds on the Shenzhen market – and local carrier Shenzhen Airlines has a minimal international presence. Shenzhen Airlines is majority owned by Air China, meaning China United's international expansion could eventually challenge the Air China group at multiple levels. With time there will also be an impact to the Hong Kong market, although crossing the border is still far from seamless.
Thailand’s NokScoot launches scheduled services as sister Scoot expands in the Bangkok market
Long-haul low-cost start-up NokScoot quietly launched scheduled operations on 20-May-2015 with service from its Bangkok Don Mueang base to Singapore, the base of joint venture partner Scoot. NokScoot has also been finally cleared by Chinese authorities to launch services to Nanjing in Jun-2015 but will need to wait for Thai authorities to resolve ICAO-raised concerns before launching planned services to Japan and South Korea.
Sister carrier Scoot, however, has unveiled plans to serve the Bangkok-Osaka route from Jul-2015 as it increases capacity on Bangkok-Singapore. Scoot also has confirmed plans to serve Osaka via Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
The commencement of services to Singapore and soon Nanjing closes a difficult initial chapter for NokScoot, which has had to delay the launch of scheduled operations multiple times due to a series of regulatory holdups. Singapore will likely be a temporary destination for NokScoot as its long-term focus remains North Asia.