China To Cut Its Domestic Flights

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is moving to reduce the amount of flight arrivals and departures at the Beijing Capital Airport and is banning creation of new domestic airlines before 2010. The country’s largest air carriers—Air China, China Eastern and China Southern—are being required to reduce their number of flights to 336 per day. According to reports, overall flight arrivals and departures at the airport will be restricted to 58 per hour at peak times and 1,050 per day by the beginning of November and 55 per hour at peak and 1,000 per day by the beginning of April 2008.

The moves are in advance of the Olympic Games that will be held in China next summer as well as concerns about safety in saturated skies. “Along with the rapid development of the industry have come ever-more urgent problems with the supply of technical personnel, air space resources and airport safety guarantees,” says the CAAC.

While other Chinese airports will have to meet the restricted flight regulations by March 2008, the CAAC will take measure to encourage air freight carriers based in western and northeast China, with less population as well as airlines flying in night hours, those that use foreign crew and those that fly aircraft made in China. Although cargo capacity is being promoted by the CAAC, it will be closely monitoring flying time and maintenance among other operations within the sector.

“In order to ensure safety and bring about the positive, rapid, healthy and orderly development of the industry,” says the CAAC, it has “decided to carry out an overall adjustment in the number of flights, entry into the aviation industry and rise in cargo capacity.” There was no mention of regulation of foreign airlines.

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