Hainan Airlines’ four subsidiaries have formed a partnership being hailed as the world’s first low-cost carrier (LCC) alliance.

The U-FLY Alliance brings together Hong Kong-based Hong Kong Express Airlines, Kunming-based Lucky Air, Urumqi-based Urumqi Airlines and Chongqing-based West Air.

Member carriers said that under the U-Fly Alliance they will deepen their cooperation and optimize slots connection. Together, they operate a total of 67 aircraft on 168 routes with 298 daily departures covering85 Asian destinations.

“With the launch of the first low cost airlines alliance in the world, air transport market will enter into a new era when passengers can fly to more diversified destinations and enjoy more secure flying experience with much lower air fares.” U-Fly Alliance chairman Ma Zhimin said.

Meantime, U-Fly alliance also promoted special launch fares on certain routes. The alliance said it plans to attract more member airlines to expand its route network in the coming days, but there was no mention of shared frequent flier or loyalty benefits.

Hainan Airlines is not a member of any of the three global alliances.