China United to become Beijing’s first LCC

China United Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern, will start operating as a low-cost carrier this year, becoming the first budget airline based in Beijing.


China United to become Beijing’s first LCC


China United Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern, will start operating as a low-cost carrier this year, becoming the first budget airline based in Beijing. The carrier initially launched operations in 2004, as the Beijingbased unit of Shanghai’s China Eastern Airlines, but China United has changed its business model to low cost and is now planning to undertake a major expansion plan that will double its fleet size.

According to a recent statement issued by the airline, China United will increase its fleet size from 25 to 50 aircraft by the end of 2015. It will also move to a low-cost model, operating flights from three bases in China – Beijing’s Nanyuan Airport, Foshan Airport in Guangdong province, and an as-yet-unnamed hub in Western China.

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines was for many years China’s only LCC, but it has since been joined by Chongqingbased West Air, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, while Juneyao Airlines is planning to launch a low-cost subsidiary called 9 RMB Airlines. China Eastern meanwhile, is also in the process of setting up Jetstar Hong Kong, in partnership with Qantas and Shun Tak Holdings.