Popular budget airline AirAsia just signed a deal with the Everbright Group to bring a new low-cost carrier to China, allowing it to expand its range of flight destinations within the Middle Kingdom.
The airline will be based in Zhengzhou, Henan province, where it will operate a terminal at Xinzheng International Airport.
Known for its cheap flights around Southeast Asia, AirAisa already has presence in China, having been the first foreign low-cost carrier to enter the market in 2005. The Malaysian airline offers flights to 15 different destinations in China, which also makes it the largest foreign budget carrier operating in the country.
Its new venture could rival Spring Airlines, the Shanghai-based provider of cheap international and domestic flights in China. The expansion of AirAsia into the Chinese domestic market could eventually lead to price drops as companies aim to attract customers with reduced fares.
READ MORE: 10 Ways to Book Cheap Flights in China
According to AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, the AirAsia establishment in China will be “the final piece of the AirAsia puzzle,” which already has operations Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Philippines and Japan.
“We chose Zhengzhou as our base due to its strategic location and importance as a logistics hub," said Fernandes. "With President Xi Jinping’s vision for One Belt, One Road, Zhengzhou is set to become even more important, not least as the heart of low-cost air travel in North Asia.”
AirAsia is rumored to be considering adding China's first domestically-built C919 aircraft to its Zhengzhou fleet.