In mature aviation markets, such as those of the U.S. and Europe, regional airlines usually account for between 30 and 40 percent of the total civil aviation market. However China's regional airlines account for just 5 percent. Therefore, it is difficult for residents in many small and medium-sized cities in China to enjoy convenient travel by air.
Regional passenger aircraft usually refers to small passenger planes with less than 100 seats, which are mainly used to transport passengers between large and small or medium-sized cities.
On August 15, China Joy Air Co., Ltd., which was jointly established by China-based Aviation Industry Corporation and China Eastern Airlines in March 2008 with a joint investment of one billion yuan, was formally put into operation. According to a survey conducted by China Joy Air in about 30 small and medium-sized cities, although there is demand in these cities and their nearby regions for regional air transport, the transportation and market development of regional airlines lag far behind those of main air routes. The frequency and passenger occupancy of regional airlines are both quite low.
Although Tianjin Airlines and Kun Peng Airlines, which were established earlier than Joy, have been developing quite rapidly as regional airlines, it takes the regional airline market three to five years to be fully developed. Generally speaking, China's regional aviation network is still in its early stage.
Regional airlines will be able to make a profit once the average round-trip occupancy exceeds 70 percent. In the ten days since China Joy Air started test operation, occupancy has consistently exceeded 90 percent.
By People's Daily Online