Budget airliners are spreading their wings overseas by introducing low-fare flights from Shanghai to Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea and Japan. This, according to analysts, may trigger a price war in the aviation market.
A number of budget airlines are poised to start international flights this year. In April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the nation’s aviation regulator, said on its website that it had approved in principle Shanghai-based Spring Airlines’ plan to start short-distance international cargo and passenger flights.
Zhang Wu’an, spokesman with Spring Airlines, told China Daily that the airline still has to complete some application procedures to get full approval. He said the first outbound flight might not be to Hong Kong, as the market is already saturated. ‘The flights we plan to launch will be based on previous market research, in order to extract the maximum advantage from the new flights,’ he said.
Market observers expect the round-trip ticket prices between Shanghai and Hong Kong to fall below RMB1,000 yuan, once Spring Airlines starts its Hong Kong flights. The low fare trips are also expected to trigger a shopping boom in Hong Kong, often dubbed as the ‘shopping heaven’ by mainland customers due to its duty-free luxury goods.