Qantas to Launch Budget Carrier with China Eastern Airlines

If the not-so-friendly skies seem more crowded than ever, it could be because another low-cost carrier is trying to squeeze in.

New Airline for 2013: Jetstar Hong Kong

Australia’s Qantas and Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines have joined forces to launch Jetstar Hong Kong, a budget airline that will take advantage of the fast-growing China market.

The new discount carrier is expected to begin flights sometime in 2013 with three Airbus A320s and expand to 18 aircraft by 2015.

Old Airlines: Song and Ted

Other Celebrated Launches: Scoot, Song and Ted

Last fall, Singapore Airlines – which often lands at the top of ‘best lists’ for luxury and service – launched its own budget carrier with the unlikely name of Scoot. The discounter is up and running, sometimes offering deals from Sydney to Singapore for as little as $90 U.S. each-way. But low-cost carrier experiments by larger airlines haven’t always ended happily.

Though both had their fans, Delta’s short-lived Song (2003 – 2006) and United’s equally fleeting budget-airline-within-an-airline called Ted (2004 – 2009) didn’t work out financially.

Cheap Airlines are Not Always Cheapest

Times change, though, and the differences between U.S. legacy carriers and the low-cost competition are increasingly blurred in the U.S. as older airlines drop perks and prices on the discounters creep up – as do their fees.

Budget Carriers Mean Big Fees

Fee Chart: What Airlines Charge Around the World

Florida-based Spirit, for example, now charges a fee for a carry-on bag, while Dublin-based Ryanair recently raised the fee on a first checked-bag for a phone reservation in peak season to more than $150.

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Published: March 26, 2012