U-FLY alliance born from HNA Group LCC businesses

Hong Kong-based HK Express is taking a leading role in the formation of the new U-FLY low-cost carrier grouping, which it describes as a game-changer for the airline industry and which will work to make travel more affordable and accessible than ever before. It will be joined by Kunming-based Lucky Air, Urumqi-based Urumqi Air and Chongqing-based West Air and others could follow in the future.

In the latest innovative move in the continued China airline growth, HNA Group has built on the synergies within its company portfolio to launch the world’s first low-cost carrier alliance. The U-FLY alliance brings together three of the group’s regional businesses in China to established a combined network of 85 destinations across the Asia-Pacific region with a total of 168 city pair options for travellers.

Hong Kong-based HK Express is taking a leading role in the formation of the new grouping, which it describes as a game-changer for the airline industry and which will work to make travel more affordable and accessible than ever before. It will be joined in U-FLY by Kunming-based Lucky Air, Urumqi-based Urumqi Air and Chongqing-based West Air and others could follow in the future.

“With the launch of the first LCC alliance in the world, we are entering into a new era of travel that speaks to what travellers really want: flexible and affordable routes that are also safe and secure,” said Andrew Cowen, Chief Executive Officer of HK Express and head of the U-FLY Alliance.

“Thanks to the cooperation from the innovative low-fare airlines, we are able to connect travellers from Asia and Greater China to an ever-increasing network of cities,” he added.

The route maps below highlight the U-FLY network from its four bases at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, Diwopu International Airport in Urumqi, Hong Kong International Airport and Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing.

U-FLY Chongqing
U-FLY route map from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.
U-FLY Hong Kong
U-FLY route map from Hong Kong International Airport.
U-FLY Kunming
U-FLY route map from Kunming Changshui International Airport.
U-FLY Urumqi
U-FLY route map from Urumqi Diwopu International Airport.

The linking of the four carriers’ networks mean that new direct, one-stop flight options will be available under the auspices of U-FLY including international options like Lhasa to Tokyo and Harbin to Phuket. There will be an obvious focus on China initially but as other LCCs join the goal of U-FLY is to develop a pan-Asian offering which provides an expanded network for low-fare travel across the region.

As part of the U-FLY Alliance roll-out, enhanced reservations and airport procedures to facilitate streamlined transfers by Guests across airlines will be put in place in due course. A network alignment is also underway to facilitate new interline connections between specific city pairs and growth strategies will be employed to benefit future connectivity between the member airline networks.

At A Glance: U-FLY Alliance Airline Members
 Parameter HK Express Lucky Air Urumqi Air West Air U-FLY Alliance
Logo  Logo - HK Express  Logo - Lucky Air  Logo - Urumqi Air  Logo - West Air  Logo - U-FLY
Aircraft (2015) 13 28 6 20 67
Fleet Development (2020) 50 60 48 60 200
Aircraft Type A320/A321 A319/A320/737 737-800 A319/A320 A319/A320/A321/737
Destination 20 57 12 60 85
City Pairs 20 78 16 64 168
Passengers (million) 3.2 6.8 1.3 5. 17.1
Daily Flights 64 124 20 90 298