Airlines improve service as tourism drives growth
Airlines enjoyed healthy growth, driven by leisure travel demand, particularly to overseas destinations, and government investment in airport construction. Carriers continued to add international routes, expand service to lower tier cities and focus more attention on understanding consumer needs to improve service and differentiate.
The three major national brands – Air China, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines – continued to dominate the market. As they improved the customer experience for premium passengers, low cost carriers built their businesses by making air travel more affordable for a greater number of people.
Air China added a budget brand as part of the government's initiative to increase service to lower tier cities. Hainan Airlines added international flights from regional cities. And online sales, a relatively new trend in the airline industry, increased. Factors including government austerity measures and competition from rapid rail impacted category sales.