High-speed railway to affect airlines

Airlines could soon lower their prices as they deal with competition from China’s newest high-speed railway, which commences service on December 26.

The Beijing-Guangzhou line passes through 28 cities, including the provincial capitals of Changsha, Wuhan and Zhengzhou.

According to Li Xiaojin of the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, the high-speed railway will impact several carriers, causing around 20 percent of passengers to switch from air to rail travel, mainly those travelling short to medium distances.

Li Jiaxiang, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, concurred, saying that airlines operating flights along a high-speed railway will normally lose 16 percent of their passengers.

China Southern Airlines and Air China, the major carriers between Guangzhou and Beijing, will be affected most, though other carriers also need to take into account the competition.

Hainan Airlines already confirmed that it will cut prices as part of its measures to boost its competitiveness.

Airlines say price reductions are only one of their ways to draw passengers, with some saying they plan to shift their focus on other less-serviced international and domestic routes.

“We will adjust flights on medium- and short-haul routes affected by the high-speed railway,” said China Southern Airlines in a statement.

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