Yesterday the Chinese carrier, Hong Kong Airlines, announced that in March 2012 it will start flying from Hong Kong to London with a new "half-price business class" service. Their intention is to undercut the existing premium fare market using a specially configured Airbus 330-200 aircraft equipped only with 18 first and 98 business-class seats. The market they are aiming at is affluent Chinese. Sometime before the global banking crisis, SilverJet, MaxJet and EOS tried something similar on the London to New York route but all failed. The British Airlines subsidairy called Open Skies still flies to two US destination from Paris in an all business configuration, but it has the backing of BA and the support of BA's powerful executive club. So will HKA's new initiative be successful ? WE HOPE SO! The Chinese outbound market is growing dramatically both in terms of passnger volume and ticket revenues, which is a good sign but the Hong Kong to London route is crowded and well served by top class carriers including BA, Cathay Pacific, Virgin, Qantas and Air New Zealand - each of which has outstanding business class offerings. It will be intersting to watch the level of fares that are set for London originating passngers and Alternative Airlines will keep you informed as and when they appear.