When we launched operations in 2005, Spring Airlines was the first low-cost carrier to be established in China. We knew back then that the untapped market was huge, but we also understood that for us to really survive and thrive, we’d need to be bold, really understand what the market needs, and find our edge.
In the 11 years since then, I think I can say that we’ve done well. We were the first LCC in China to fly internationally, the first to become publicly listed, and today we’re North Asia’s largest low-fare airline, flying more than 15 million passengers annually.
But the important question for us is not what we’ve achieved to date. It’s ‘what’s next?’
These days we have our eyes fixed on international expansion. Just last year we opened 36 new routes, and in total we now operate 52 international routes between China and North Asia, Greater China, and South East Asia. Today, our domestic and international business roughly take up equal proportion.
In the initial phase of our international expansion, Chinese travellers account for most of the passengers on our international routes. But our ambitions are big, and as we expand rapidly to even more locations, it’s important for us to now put our focus on the other way around – getting more international travellers on our planes and into China.
This is why the partnership that we have signed with Amadeus is so important – to help us reach more travellers around the world through their global travel agency network. We recognise that in markets outside of China, Spring Airlines may not be a familiar name, hence travel agencies are an important sales channel to help us extend our brand reach to travellers in those markets.
It’s also a critical channel for us to reach a wider group of travellers. Most of our customers that purchase our fares from our website are young people. However, there are many travellers who prefer or need to book their flights through a travel agent, and amongst them business travellers – who are an increasingly important source of travellers for us. In this regard, Amadeus is an ideal partner, because they have the world’s widest network of travel agents. On our part – Spring Airlines has committed to providing a rich array of content in the Amadeus system, including ancillary products.
Ultimately, we believe this partnership will be a win-win for all of us. International travel agencies have more options to offer their travellers from our extensive network in Asia, and travellers likewise benefit from now being able to choose a more affordable way to fly into China.
We’re pleased to be working with Amadeus, and thank them for the great collaboration to date. We have high hopes for the future, and we’re confident that this partnership is key to getting us there.