Global aviation industry optimistic about Chinese market

09:46, June 11, 2011      

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Global major airlines are universally optimistic about the raid growth of demand on the Chinese market and generally plan to expand their hub networks to cover more Chinese cities, according to the 67th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit held by the International Air Transport Association, which concluded on June 7.

According to the association's analysis, the continuous development of the high-speed railway lines in China will pose a challenge on the competitiveness of Chinese airlines in domestic short and medium-distance air routes, and the long-distance air route market, particularly the international market, will become a new growth point of Chinese airlines.

Wei Zhenzhong, secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association, said that 16 Chinese airlines have the freedom to fly in the European Union market, including 11 airlines with regular routes there.

Air China Vice President Zhao Xiaohang said that Air China maintained a double-digit growth in the international passenger volume in 2011 and is rapidly expanding its international market.

He believes that the development of high-speed railway lines will advance the establishment of a series of transportation hubs, which will enhance the distribution of passengers, bringing both challenges and opportunities to China's aviation industry.

The International Air Transport Association believes that the Chinese market will become one of the forces moving forward the development of the global aviation industry. Given the impact of the high-speed railway projects on the demand of the domestic aviation market as well as the further expansion of foreign airlines in the Chinese market, China's aviation industry will face more opportunities and challenges.

Giovanni Bisignani, the association's director general, said in an interview that China's aviation market is developing rapidly, and China has been continuously improving its aviation infrastructure. However, the existing airports in primary cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, are still not adequate to meet the ever-increasing passenger and freight demand. China needs to draw on foreign experience to improve its air transportation capacity and efficiency.

Bisignani believes that constant expansion of the flight network is a major contributor to the success of many international airlines. The Chinese aviation industry should draw on the experience of certain successful airlines in Singapore and the Middle East. Due to the rapid economic and trade development in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, Singapore's Changi Airport has strengthened cooperation with its Chinese and Indian counterparts and has opened flights to certain second-tier cities in China. Many passengers who fly from India, China or Malaysia to Europe, the United States or Australia now choose Changi Airport as their transfer point, and many European and American passengers often choose to fly to their final destinations in Asia via Singapore.

Bisignani said that the development pattern of the Middle East's booming aviation industry also deserves special attention. Thanks to its effective development strategies, Emirates Airline currently flies to more than 100 destinations in some 60 countries around the world, and its service network is constantly expanding.

By Qi Shuwen, People's Daily Online
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