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U – Fly – The First LCC Alliance

The first global alliance of LCCs was established in Asia a year ago.

Is it a market change that has for the first time brought independent airlines to the same table, and how will this reflect on travel?

There are several major LCCs in Europe, while Asia has many more.  Many of them are small airlines we have never even heard of.

HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air and West Air may be small companies by Asian standards, but joined together they are planning an expansion in the constantly and fast-growing Asian market. 

At the beginning, they were focused on north Asia, but they are also planning to expand to the south and towards Europe and the US via intercontinental flights.

Many passengers on LCC flights find issue with changing planes and the connecting flights to some other destinations. If one needs to change planes, and the same company does not offer the needed flight, the passengers must take their luggage and again check in at another carrier’s counter. The alliance will make it possible to avoid this and to improve the services.

In their development plans, major LCCs like Air Asia and Jetstar Asia have provided for the expansion of bases in several cities, and that’s how they’ve resolved the issue. However, this is costly and only possible for major companies with hundreds of flights daily from different airports. For the smaller ones, the cheaper and faster way is to join into an alliance.

Regular airlines have long since accepted this model of sharing seats on flights. Miles and More, One World and other major alliances have proven to be successful.

For LCCs, this was the first attempt. In the year since, they have been joined by a new member, the Korean Eastar Jet. Now, the entire alliance has 111 aircraft and over 23 million passengers in 103 cities.

By the end of this year, it is expecting at least five new members, and cooperation with one of the global alliances. Passengers from other continents arriving to Hong Kong, Seoul, or some other city, must frequently change planes of local airlines which do not have a deal with the major alliances. This is precisely what U-Fly is planning to offer. Their plans are big and promising, so we’ll be watching how things unfold.

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