Budget airlines in China have been taking off alongside passenger volumes in the fastest growing air travel market, and these low-cost carriers are finding fleet expansion the key to capturing a larger slice. Meg Teckman reports.
China's budget airlines are taking off with more passengers going the low-cost route. Taking cues from already popular no-frills airlines across the world, Beijing has encouraged the development of budget carriers. Which make up only about seven percent of the market now, but are expected to double that by the end of the decade. One way these airlines are competing is flying to places not serviced by the traditional, larger carriers. With many cities in the country still requiring long and tricky train or bus journeys, shorter, cheaper flights are a welcome choice for many travelers. China is the fastest growing domestic air travel market and passenger volumes are increasing more than 10 percent a year. It is likely to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest domestic market within the next 10 years. To take advantage of this demand, airlines have been snapping up new planes to expand and update their fleets. Spring Airlines signed a 6.3 billion dollar deal with Airbus last week to buy 60 jets. The planes are scheduled to be delivered by 2023 and will expand Spring Air's capacity by nearly 160 percent. ENDS