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China to rein in airline industry growth

Wednesday 16/08/2017 - Source: The Star

China will tighten control on the approval of new airlines, cut flights at its busiest airport in Beijing and raise safety checks, worried that the industry is expanding dangerously fast, the regulator said yesterday.

No applications for new airlines would be accepted before 2010 and the growth of those already in operation would be controlled, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said in a statement on its website.

Exceptions would be granted only to freight airlines, or to those that mainly use foreign pilots, promise to operate mostly at night, use Chinese-made aircraft or fly in the country's less developed west and northeast, it said.

"In recent years, our country's aviation industry has developed rapidly, maintaining an average annual growth rate in excess of 16%," it said.

"As the regulator, we have clearly noted that along with this development, problems of lack of technical personnel, airspace and airport ability are getting daily more pronounced.

"To guarantee safety and ensure the good, quick, healthy and well-ordered development of the industry, the civil aviation department has decided to control the number of flights, permission for market entry and rate of growth," the statement added.

A plethora of new airlines have appeared since 2015, including Okay Airways, Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines, after the government allowed private firms to enter the sector and opened it up further to foreign investment. Yet, despite billions of dollars spent to build new airports and upgrade old ones, delays are frequent as the infrastructure struggles to keep up.

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