Chinese OTA Qunar to launch airline

Shenhui Airlines will be based at Shenzhen's Baoan International Airport
Shenhui Airlines will be based at Shenzhen’s Baoan International Airport

Qunar, one of China’s largest online travel sites, is planning to launch a low-cost airline based in Shenzhen.

The company confirmed this week that it will initially invest CNY600 million (US$92 million) in Shenhui Airlines, in partnership with another local firm in Shenzhen.

According to Qunar, the start-up carrier plans to take to the skies as early as in 2017. Shenhui Airlines will build a fleet of 12 aircraft by 2019, enabling it to operate domestic and international flights to destinations in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea.

The carrier will operate under a low-cost model, and Qunar plans to capitalise on its online expertise to drive sales.

Qunar is owned by Baidu, the Chinese online giant, and rival OTA Ctrip.com recently acquired a stake in the company. Shenhui Airlines will be based at Shenzhen’s Baoan International Airport, where will compete with three local rivals: Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Donghai Airlines.

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