China Eastern Airlines GM Ma Xunlun stated the carrier may establish a mainland China-based LCC if its JV LCC with Qantas, Jetstar Hong Kong, proves to be successful, stating “China Eastern has always been trying to enter the low-cost airline market amid rapid growth of the budget carrier sector around the world”. According to reports from China Daily, Shanghai Daily and Yicai, Mr Ma said the carrier may also cooperate with Qantas on the potential new LCC as it seeks to be the first major Chinese carrier to tap China’s LCC market. Mr Ma stated there is no time frame for the new LCC as the carrier’s main priority at the moment is to focus on the development of Jetstar Hong Kong, a major test bed for the carrier. Mr Ma, however, warned there are many hurdles that LCCs face in mainland China “low-cost carrier actually has to bear high costs on fuel, salaries and various operational charges in China.” Commenting on the development of Jetstar Hong Kong, Mr Ma said it hopes to launch Jetstar Hong Kong in 2H2013 adding its fleet target of 18 aircraft by 2015 has not changed, although it will be adjusted on a per year basis depending on the timing of approvals by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
China Eastern Airlines considering establishing mainland China-based LCC with Qantas
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