Hainan Airlines Airbus A330-200. By Rob Finlayson

Hainan Airlines parent HNA Group is planning to launch Heilongjiang Airlines in conjunction with the Heilongjiang provincial government.

The new subsidiary will further explore the market potential in Northeastern China. No details about ownership ratio have been released, but it is widely speculated that HNA would be the controlling stakeholder. The owners have not decided whether to launch this new venture as a regional carrier, a trunk carrier or a business aviation company.

The new entity is expected to face fierce competition from China Southern Airlines, which has a strong presence with its Shenyang-based Northern branch company in Northeastern China.

It has become a growing trend for domestic carriers to strengthen their cooperation with local governments.

Hainan Airlines last month announced it will launch Urumqi Airlines with the Urumqi municipal government. It has also launched Capital Airlines with the Beijing government; West Air with the Chongqing government; Lucky Air with the Yunnan government; Tianjin Airlines with the Tianjin government; and Fuzhou Airlines with the Fuzhou provincial government.