Hainan Airlines is re-opening a flight route of which Okay Airways, China's brand-new first private airway, currently has the monopoly.
Hainan Airlines' flights will begin March 27 on the route from north China's Tianjin Municipality to Changsha, capital city of central China's Hunan Province, according to resources from Hainan Airlines.
Okay made its maiden flight on March 11 following the same route. The launch rocked the long-term monopoly of the civil aviation sector by mainly state capital and helped to optimize the allocation of airline services in China.
Okay has begun running small routes off main hubs, including Tianjin-Changsha route which was once held by Hainan Airlines but was suspended two years ago for inadequate passengers.
"We resume the flight mainly to meet increasing demand along the route, not for competition with Okay," said Wang Xinyu, a senior manager with Hainan Airlines' marketing department. He said there will be no price battle between the two sides.
Hainan Airlines, a joint-stock aviation operator based in Haikou, Hainan province, gave a warm welcome to Okay, saying "introduction of private capital can help open up the civil aviation market more effectively," while many other state-owned airlines fight to maintain their dominance.
Okay also welcomed Hainan's return to the route. "More than one companies operating on the same route will help develop a more mature market," said Han Jing, a higher executive manager of Okay.
China's aviation industry has grown faster than the economy as a whole, but the civil aviation industry was virtually closed to private investment. The liberalization of the sector is part of China's effort to promote private economy's development.