CHINA (CRI): Relocation of two top Chinese airlines to a new airport in Beijing could help cut airfares for international passengers while improving services for national carrier Air China, which will remain at Beijing Capital International Airport.
China Eastern and China Southern Airlines, along with some other SkyTeam Alliance members, will move to Beijing’s new international airport when it begins operation in 2019, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Other carriers to be relocated include Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air.
National carrier Air China and other Star Alliance partners, including United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and Japanese airline ANA, will stay, the CAAC said.
Slot shortages at Beijing Capital International Airport have made it increasingly difficult for airlines to add flights and launch new routes.
The ultra-large new airport, which will be in Daxing district in Beijing’s southeastern suburbs, is expected to serve those who travel to and from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.
Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, said: “Beijing Capital International Airport is overly saturated. The relocation of China Eastern and China Southern Airlines to the new airport will provide them with significant growth potential.”
“Since the new airport will be nearly 50 kilometers from the downtown area, airline companies based there will likely offer cheaper ticket prices to attract passengers and tour groups,” he said.
“As the southern part of Beijing further develops, with more businesses and government agencies moving there, passengers will find it increasingly convenient to use the new airport,” he added.
China Eastern and China Southern will be allowed to build their own infrastructure facilities at the new airport, and the two airlines will become the airport’s main carriers, accounting for 40 percent of annual passenger volume. They will both be given a transition grace period of four years to move to the new airport.
The two carriers will be given favorable policy support on flights and routes, as well as ground services, the CAAC statement said.
Air Transport World, a US aviation magazine, said Air China will be the big winner in the move.
The statement did not mention whether Hainan Airlines, the country’s fourth-largest airline, will remain at the capital airport or move.