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Lucky Air (China) is considering establishing a base in Thailand, its first such move in a market outside of China.
The HNA Group budget unit's marketing director, Jiang Shuqiang, told Routesonline last month that given its successful strategy of securing market share by focusing on China's Tier II and III cities, Lucky Air had now grown bold enough to now focus on the Asian market at large.
“We have already transitioned from full-service carrier to an LCC, and now we need to explore some new cities according to the economics, population, and resources the city can provide," he said. "Maybe our next step will be to use a hub in Thailand as our first overseas base."
Lucky Air uses focus cities and bases around China to feed traffic into its two main hubs of Kunming Changshui and Chengdu. According to Jiang, the LCC will add South Asia and islands routes to the former with the latter set to see service to the Americas, Africa and Western Asia.
Chinese carrier Lucky Air plans to add new European long-haul services to St Petersburg and Helsinki, the next stage in its development after making its intercontinental bow this summer.
The HNA Group carrier launched its first intercontinental service to Moscow in June and has now detailed plans to serve Pulkovo airport in the northern Russian city from Chengdu and Kunming. Services to both will be at least twice-weekly, Lucky says, and will begin this winter season.
The announcement was marked by a signing ceremony at World Routes in Barcelona today.
“China remains one of the fastest-growing flight directions for Pulkovo airport,” says Evgeniy Iliyn, chief commercial officer at Pulkovo St Petersburg. “Chengdu and Kunming are in the list of strategic routes for the St Petersburg airport and will become the fourth and fifth [Chinese mainland] destinations with direct scheduled service from the northern capital of Russia.”
Lucky Air will deploy Airbus A330-300s on the services.
The Chinese carrier is also eyeing a January launch of services from the two Chinese cities to the Finnish capital Helsinki. Lucky Air will fly from Kunming to Helsinki via Chengdu. The route will also be served twice-daily with A330s.
While Finnair already serves five Chinese routes from Helsinki, this marks the airport's first Chinese carrier service. “Having the first Chinese airline in Finland supports our goal to develop Helsinki Airport as an important air traffic hub between Europe and Asia," says senior vice president, Joni Sundelin, at Helsinki airport operator, Finavia.
Lucky Air (China) (8L, Dali City) has signed an agreement with SMBC Aviation Capital for the lease of four B737 MAX 8s - the HNA Group budget carrier's first commitment to the type.
According to SMBC, the aircraft are sourced from its Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) order book and are scheduled to deliver in 2018 and 2019.
Lucky Air operates a mixed fleet of three A319-100s, eight A320-200s, one A330-300, twelve B737-700s, and nineteen B737-800s, all of which are leased from third party lessors. It currently serves eighty-nine destinations across China, Brunei, Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Lucky Air adds Kuala Lumpur to its international network
From January 2017, Lucky Air are flying 4 x weekly flights on the 2,475-kilometre route from Kunming and is only Lucky Air’s third route to Malaysia. The route has been served since December 2012 by AirAsia which currently operates a daily service. It also flies twice-weekly from Kunming to Penang and also served Kota Kinabalu last July and August. Lucky Air currently flies 37 narrow-body aircraft and is part-owned by Hainan Airlines Group. The carrier operates 14 international routes, nine of them from Kunming. These routes account for just 0.4% of seat capacity of all international services to and from China.
Boeing 737 -800
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is the major international airport serving Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan Province. Shuangliu International Airport is the hub airport for Sichuan Airlines as well as Chengdu Airlines. The airport has two runaways and can handle nearly 40 million passengers.
Other airlines which fly to and from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport include AirAsia, Air China, Air Maca, Asiana Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, British Airways, Hainan Airlines, EVA Air, Juneyao Airlines, KLM, Kunming Airlines and many others.
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Lucky Air is set to acquire new B787-9s to begin 2x weekly flights from Kunming to Moscow and Los Angeles!
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