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.
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.
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