Qantas to set up budget airline

China Eastern Airlines has joined with Australia’s Qantas to set up a regional low-cost carrier, marking the first move by a big Chinese airline into the growing but overcrowded no-frills sector. China's third-largest airline by market value and Australia's top carrier will invest up to $198m over three years in the equal joint venture, which will start in mid-2013 with three Airbus A320 aircraft, Qantas said yesterday. The fleet would expand to 18 aircraft by 2015, and China Eastern said it expected the venture to be profitable in its third year.