Lucky Air to be China's first long haul LCC, to Europe/N America in 2016; China international up 29%

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There are debates about impacts from China's "new normal" of slower growth. Yet from an aviation perspective, it so far remains evident that aviation is not as impacted - despite the typical correlation between traffic growth and GDP. Chinese traffic is heavily leisure-oriented; China's middle class is growing; thirst for international travel is expanding; visa liberalisation continues to improve and foreign countries (and their airports) are embracing of Chinese visitors. All these factors make travel easier, and the Chinese government is encouraging - sometimes by force - for its airlines to "go out".

The first four months of 2016 experienced a smaller growth rate of 29% compared with 4M2015's 40% increase, but the net addition of passengers in 2016 so far is larger than in 2015. The international market is becoming more crowded with new operators.

The latest will be Lucky Air - the Kunming-based LCC division of the HNA Group and U-FLY Alliance. Lucky intends to deploy 787-9s to Europe and North America by the end of 2016.

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