Consolidation and high-speed rail squeezing out China’s second-tier carriers?

China’s second-tier carriers are hard at work at present, rapidly expanding their domestic and (in some cases) international route networks. However, the vast majority of these airlines are now doing so under the control of the "Big Three" carriers and/or HNA Group, as consolidation accelerates in China. As such, China’s airline evolution is at a very interesting stage. Where previously the major airlines: 1) established considerable branch carrier networks to serve diverse geographic areas in China; and 2) eliminated brands of the acquired airlines, they now appear to be looking more strategically at segmenting the market, retaining the second-tier carrier brands, particularly those focused on tourism/leisure markets.

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