HNA Group or China has continued to expand its airline portfolio, with the official launch GX Airlines - a new carrier based in southern region of Guangxi.
The start-up airline launched its inaugural flight earlier, from its home base at Nanning, the capital of scenic Guangxi.
The flight landed safely in Haikou, the capital of Hainan province.
Previously reported to be called Beibu Gulf Airlines, the new GX Airlines has been formed following a partnership between Tianjin Airlines, a subsidiary of HNA Group, and state-owned Guangxi Beibu Gulf Investment Group.
Tianjin Airlines will hold a 70 per cent stake in GX Airlines and will initially supply the carrier with several Embraer E190 regional jets, pilots and cabin crew.
Following the launch of the Nanning-Haikou route, GX Airlines will roll out more domestic passenger services, before spreading its wings to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and destinations in south-east and north-east Asia in future.
It will also hope to take advantage of the rising volume of inbound leisure traffic to Guangxi – a popular tourist area.
GX Airlines becomes the latest airline in the growing stable of the HNA Group - the Hainan-based parent company of Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Lucky Air, among others.
Last year it added two new carriers: Urumqi Airlines in the Xinjiang region of north-west China and Fuzhou Airlines in south-east China’s Fujian province.
The group is also planning to expand its presence in Guangxi with the launch of Guilin Airlines – a new subsidiary based in the city of Guilin.
As well as its portfolio of Chinese airlines, HNA also holds stakes in Ghana’s AWA, France’s Aigle Azur, and operates large domestic cruise and tourism companies.