The skies above China are set to become even busier in future, as the fast-expanding HNA Group prepares to launch yet another airline.
One of the group’s existing carriers, Kunming-based Lucky Air, is planning to establish a new subsidiary in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province.
Shennaio Airlines (literally meaning “sacred bird”) will be a joint venture between Lucky Air and local investors, with HNA’s carrier investing CNY1.05 billion (approx. US$152 million) for a 35% stake in the airline.
Initially based at Chengdu’s Shuangliu International Airport, although potentially moving to the city’s new airport when it opens, Shenniao Airlines plans to offer both domestic and international passengers services. Like its parent company Lucky Air, the new carrier will operate under a low-cost model.
If the carrier’s application for an operating license is approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Shenniao Airlines will become the ninth carrier with an operating base in Chengdu, following Air China, Tibet Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Lucky Air, Sichuan Airlines and Chengdu Airlines.
HNA Group, which also operates Hainan Airlines, is developing a widespread portfolio of air carriers all across China. The conglomerate most recently launched Air Guilin in southwest China’s Guangxi region and Air Changan in Xi’an. It has also formed Fuzhou Airlines, GX Airlines, Urumqi Air and Yangtze River Airlines – a new passenger carrier based in Shanghai – in addition to its established existing units such as Hainan Airlines, Lucky Air, Hong Kong Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines and Chongqing’s West Air.