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China to slash domestic flights to regulate air transport
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08:15, August 16, 2007

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A total of 336 domestic flights to and from Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) will be scrapped from Aug. 15 to Oct. 27, sources with the Civil Aviation Administration of China confirmed Wednesday.

The measure came in response to a shortage of technicians and other professionals and limited capacity of domestic airports. It will lower the number of peak hour flights from more than 60 to 58 per hour.

In a second phase of cuts, from November to March, the number of peak hour flights at BCIA would fall to 55 per hour, but still leaving about a minute between each flight.

According to the CAAC, most flights to be canceled are operated by the nation's three leading carriers: Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.

The CAAC sources said airlines had been warned over almost 120 flights and two service had been canceled since the CAAC launched a campaign in June to reduce delays at BCIA.

The CAAC named the 20 most-delayed flights every 10 days. Flights were cancelled after two warnings.

The campaign would prevent long delays next August when Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympic Games, the sources said.

The CAAC saw the flight cuts as concrete steps to cool the overheating development of air transport which aggravated flight delays.

The sources said 18 airports, including Beijing, Shanghai Hongqiao, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Dalian and Urumqi, had been operating at their maximum capacity.

China's air transport is growing at an average annual rate of more than 16 percent. The BCIA handled 26 million passengers in the first half of 2007, and the number for the whole year will far exceed its designed annual capacity of 35 million passengers, as the second half usually saw more arrivals and departures.

Source: Xinhua

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