Administration vows to give private sector greater access and streamline approvals

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is preparing to open the domestic market to greater local competition. The CAAC is taking a closer look at its approval procedures now that two more private airlines are applying to launch operations.

Ao'kai Airlines and Spring Autumn Airlines recently gained preliminary approval from the CAAC, which means the would-be carriers can now seek formal approvals to start operations. Preparations for the start-ups are expected to take two years, says the CAAC.

Chinese travel agent groups Shanghai Spring International Travel Services and Shanghai Spring Chartered Flight Travel Services are behind Spring Autumn Airlines.

This planned carrier, to be based at Shanghai's secondary Hongqiao airport, will start by providing domestic passenger services pitched at leisure travellers and price-conscious consumers.

Ao'kai Airlines plans to be a domestic cargo carrier based in Tianjin, the port city that serves the Chinese capital Beijing. Its backers are Xinjiang Qili Investment, Ao'kai Investment Development and Beijing Qili Logistics.

Besides these two carriers, Eagle United Airlines and Jetwin Air Cargo are already seeking approvals from the CAAC.

Eagle United is backed by Guangzhou IT firm E & Net Communications and plans to provide passenger services in China's remote south-west region using Chengdu as its hub.

Jetwin plans to operate Boeing 737 freighters from Shenzhen and is owned by mainland Chinese company Oriental Investment and Hong Kong property firm East Pacific Holdings.

The push by these would-be airlines comes after the CAAC minister, Yang Yuanyuan, flagged the administration's intention to open China's aviation market to more competition by giving the private sector greater access.

Yang has also said that over the next year the examination and approval procedures for domestic airlines will be streamlined to make it more fair and liberal.

China's aviation market is currently dominated by government-controlled airlines, the three largest being Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.



Source: Flight International