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Korea's Eastar Jet LCC joins U-FLY LCC alliance to strengthen position in China and Southeast Asia

Korean LCC Eastar Jet has become the fifth member of the U-FLY LCC Alliance, established in Jan-2016. Eastar Jet also becomes the first member not affiliated with the HNA Group or based in Greater China. Eastar Jet's membership comes after its larger competitor Jeju Air became a founding member of the competing LCC Value Alliance in May-2016.

For now both alliances are more like commercial partnerships, where new technology (Air Black Box, compatible with IATA's New Distribution Capability) enables the member airlines to cross-sell not just seats, but also the critical components of varied ancillary revenue. Both alliances have small costs – and thus low risk – while the U-FLY Alliance is unique in being a platform for the ever-expansive HNA Group to foster synergies among companies.

Although it is Korea's smallest major LCC, Eastar Jet has the largest LCC operation into mainland China. Eastar expects to benefit from potential cooperation through U-FLY; it will allow it to reach more inland and western Chinese points that are too far or thin for its network, but are where U-FLY's three mainland members are based.

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