We are still waiting for comment from Qunar for more specifics, but we so far we know that the airline will be based in Shenzhen, focus on budget travel, and will complete both international and domestic routes.
This news comes after an eventful winter for Qunar. In January, a number of Chinese airlines – including giants like China Eastern and Hainan Airlines – revolted against the firm over a dispute regarding discounts and the style of the listings on Qunar’s website.
Any travel website is only as good as the deals that it has on offer. January’s uprising against Qunar showed that the company’s entire model – especially its discounts – was dependent on currying favor with major airlines, and hoping that its competition couldn’t make them a better deal.
By owning a stake in its own airline, Qunar will be able to sidestep this problem.